Sparks Fly At Alpine City Council, Vote Calls For City Attorney’s Resignation 9/11/13
CBS 7 News
September 10, 2013
ALPINE-“My debits do not equal my credits by $30.2 million dollars, that’s three years worth of your operating budget,” said Alpine’s Interim City Finance Manager Deborah Pattison.
A West Texas city is under fire for its finances yet again. Since the firing of Alpine’s City Manager and the possible indictment of its former Financial Director, the Alpine City Council has been under scrutiny.
Sparks were flying late into the night at a Tuesday council meeting, with a vote of no confidence in the City Attorney, calling for his voluntary resignation. It leaves many questions about what’s next for Alpine.
“People can be terminated for not doing their job, it’s that simple, so tonight we have an issue of someone not doing his job,” said City Council Member Michael Castelli.
“What have you done since your evaluation?” Castelli asked the attorney. “Don’t interrupt me,” fired back City Attorney John Armstrong.
With three yeas one nay and one absent council member, the vote of no confidence passed—asking for Armstrong’s voluntary resignation.
“I’m not saying he’s done anything wrong, but I don’t think he’s working for the city or for me,” said Council Member Julian Gonzales.
Newest Council Member Michael Castelli lead the charge—citing “dishonesty”, instances of the attorney allegedly changing rules or opinions to his or the benefit of certain people.
“Legal advice needs to be consistent, I couldn’t be any more clear than that,” Castelli said.
CBS7 Asked for Armstrong’s response to the allegations.
“He’s lying,” Armstrong said.
The tone of the meeting changed after Castelli singled out Armstrong—questioning why he allows the Interim City Finance Director and the former City Manager to live with him.
“For me to do something nice and kind and be treated in that fashion—my goodness, what a terrible thing,” Armstrong said, noting that they do not live in the same unit.
Interim Finance Director Deborah Pattison spoke out in his defense—dropping a bombshell about the city’s finances.
“I am a good finance director and I don’t have books that are $30.2 million dollars off, but currently I am sitting in a chair where do, and it’s abominable and I’m not going to go down with a sinking ship,” Pattison said, impassioned and holding back tears.
Armstrong then spoke of the ongoing felony investigation into Former Finance Director Ricky Chavez.
“What has been uncovered shows massive, systemic ineptness, incompetence and possible defaultation,” Armstrong said.
Armstrong says he will not resign.
District Attorney Rod Ponton said yesterday that the case against Former Finance Director Ricky Chavez will be presented to the Brewster County Grand Jury Shortly and that the city has cooperated in their investigation.