Alpine City Manager Discusses Adjourned Meeting, Audit Report

Alpine City Manager Discusses Adjourned Meeting, Audit Report

By Devin Sanchez
NewsWest 9

ALPINE - New information on the City Council meeting in Alpine on Tuesday night that ended abruptly and left residents angry. According to the agenda, the meeting was meant to feature a report from the city manager, highlighting misuse of credit cards by city employees.

The meeting was ended, after one council member made a motion to adjourn due the city manager's absence.

On Wednesday afternoon, Mayor Avinash Rangra sent NewsWest 9 a statement on why he adjourned the meeting. He said the meeting was based on a "non-existent document," making the meeting a violation of the TOMA (Texas Open Meetings Act). He continued, "had this illegal meeting continued, resulting in the termination of city employee(s), I believe the interests of 6,000 citizens of Alpine would have been unnecessarily compromised."

City Councilman Carlos Lujan told NewsWest 9, he does have proof.

"No person in their right mind would call a meeting without having evidence," he said.

NewsWest 9 spoke to City Manager, Chuy Garcia, Wednesday afternoon. Garcia said some people in the community made this a bigger issue than it should be.

"There's staff that have used the card and not brought the receipts to go along with it. I think it's been over exaggerated to this point, until we get more information, until we get to the bottom of it," Garcia said.

As for himself, he said he has provided all the necessary information on his credit card use and is not one of the employees accused of the misuse.

"My documentation for the credit cards was clear. The lady came back and said I was the only one who had a clear documentation," Garcia told NewsWest 9.

As to why his job is on the line, Garcia said it's politics.

"That's a long issue with a particular councilman that I'd rather not get into. It's a witch hunt, that's all it is," he said.

There is no word on when the final audit report will be available. The issue is still under investigation.

Councilman Lujan planned on scheduling another special meeting on Friday, but because of the 72 hour notice required, it will not happen. The next Alpine city council meeting will be Tuesday, February 26, 2013.