Audit Leads to Firing of Alpine City Manager - KWES NewsWest 9 / Midland, Odessa, Big Spring, TX: |

Audit Leads to Firing of Alpine City Manager

By Devin Sanchez
NewsWest 9

ALPINE - It's been a lot of back in forth in Alpine recently. From council members going up against the mayor and the city manager, to accusations thrown around, accusing some city employees of covering up the misuse of city funds.
The long awaited audit was presented to the council and the public on Tuesday night. The findings led to one official losing his job.

"I cant fire the city manager. It's up to the council," Alpine Mayor, Avinash Rangra, said.

That's exactly what happened; in a 3-2 vote council members, at the advice of the city attorney, decided Chuy Garcia needed to go.

"It was in public," Mayor Rangra said. "Carlos Lujan, Mike Davidson, Diana Asgriesson voted for."

Councilman Carlos Lujan told NewsWest 9 there was a lack of communication between the city manager and the council.

"We appoint a city manager. He should be reporting to us and we don't hear anything," he said.

Mayor Rangra said he's disappointed employees abused city money.

"I thought trust was betrayed. I would not let an employee write a check to himself for a whole year," he said.

80 pages detailed more than $120,000 in payroll advances.

"Public funds used for free loans, no due date," Lujan said.

According to Mayor Rangra, this isn't a new problem.

"In 2004, we set up a committee to address the same issues," he said.

In addition to payroll advances, the audit revealed $27,000 in credit card abuse, but Mayor Rangra insisted there's nothing shady going on.

"No it's not corruption, it's just bad policy," he explained.

The council will hold a special meeting sometime next week to appoint an interim city manager.
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