Finance Director Fired, Texas Rangers to Investigate Audit

Finance Director Fired, Texas Rangers to Investigate Audit

By Devin Sanchez
NewsWest 9

ALPINE - The fallout from the audit released early this month continues. NewsWest 9 has learned Ricky Chavez, the finance director, has been terminated. It was one of the first major decisions made by interim City Manager Charles Harrington in his first four days on the job.

"It's been exciting, challenging, but that's part of it," Harrington said in a phone interview on Monday.

NewsWest 9 asked if the finance director was on paid administrative leave or if he had been fired. Harrington said he had been fired. "Mr. Chavez is no longer employed by the city of Alpine. It took place last Thursday (April 11, 2013)."

This comes on the heels of the city's audit which highlighted some major mishandling's in the city's finance.

"There's alot of evaluation, there are alot of other things to try to take care of too, but this is kind of high priority," Harrington said. "We're trying to stabilize and let our employees know is doesn't affect them and things are moving ahead."

NewsWest 9 asked city attorney John Armstrong about allegations the finance director shredded documents at city hall.

"No allegations can I either confirm or deny, because it's not something I can release," Armstrong said.

NewsWest 9 then asked about the existence of a memo between him, the mayor and members of city council.

"I can confirm the existence of the memo," he said. "But that was certainly a confidential memo between myself, the mayor and council."

The memo was released by the Big Bend Now Online, and states: "Amid allegations of document shredding by the finance director at city hall, occurring yesterday, April 5, 2013, the mayor took pre-emptive action and directed the chief of police to secure the record storage vault in old city hall and change all locks on the exterior of city hall."

Armstrong told NewsWest 9 even bigger forces are now involved.

"The council authorized me to contact the (Texas) Rangers. The Rangers have been contacted and they have instigated an investigation," he said.

Armstrong also confirmed the Texas Rangers have a copy of the audit.

NewsWest 9 reached out to Ricky Chavez but he has not returned our phone calls.