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City Rep. Brian Kennedy addresses council’s purchasing cards investigation

EL PASO, Texas (KVIA) -- After ABC-7 reported that members of the El Paso City Council spent more than half a million dollars during the 2022 calendar year, City Rep. and chairman of the city's financial oversight and audit committee Brian Kennedy spoke about the next steps in the investigation.

"The question is where are the receipts? Who approved it? And how is it that the system is so porous that it was allowing caps to be blown?" Kennedy said.

The internal auditor's report more than 2,300 transactions were made on purchasing cards by elected officials and city staff for more than $550,000 dollars.

This is in addition to the previous findings in which the auditor's report showed two city representatives -- District 3 City Representative Cassandra Hernandez and former District 6 City Representative Claudia Rodriguez spent an "excessive" amount of taxpayer dollars on gasoline purchases.

Kennedy says FOAC is waiting for a for the internal auditor to finish a report on the taxpayer-funded expense cards schedule a meeting to review the findings which he hopes will answer the questions FOAC members have. He expects the report to be finalized in the next two or three weeks.

"How is it that the system is not functioning and of course we have to say how do we make it function." Kennedy said.

His hope is put in place tighter rules and protocols for the use of gas and purchasing cards for city staff, and envisions council adopting policies to have better control of such expenses. One idea he mentions is the possibility of having a monthly report detailing what each member of council spends and make those reports public.

Kennedy alluded to FOAC intending to go further than just putting tighter policies in place for gas and purchasing cards for members of city council.

"Let's start with city council and then move out from there to make sure systems are operating efficiently," Kennedy said.

While he didn't want to comment on potential legal repercussions that could come out in the ongoing investigations, Kennedy did express concern regrading comments made by Mayor Oscar Leeser in which he believed the internal auditor was pressured to make changes to his report.

"That concerns me and i thing is something we're going to be looking at and see if he was put under pressure by anyone to skew this report in anyway and until we get to the bottom of that, we haven't finished looking," Kennedy said.

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Edwin Delgado


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