The results of an Office of Inspector General investigation into payroll irregularities at Houston City Hall could be released as soon as Monday. As Houston Public Radio’s Jack Williams reports, the OIG’s office is part of the mayor’s office, but is conducting an independent probe.
The investigation into improper bonuses given to four employees of the Mayor Pro Tem office is being conducted by the Criminal Investigations Unit of the OIG’S office, which is made-up of Houston Police officers and District Attorney’s investigators. Frank Michel is with the Mayor’s Office.
“Depending on what they find, and I wouldn’t begin to speculate at this point, but depending what they find, if they think criminal charges are warranted then it’s handled like any other criminal investigation. They will go to the District Attorney and the District Attorney will make decisions about prosecuting.”
If criminal charges aren’t brought, Mayor Bill White still has the option of firing the employees involved. Michel says it’s not unusual for the OIG’s office to investigate allegations of misconduct.
“The city of Houston is in essence a $2 billion industry, about 20,000 plus employees. In an organization that size there’s always something that somebody’s reporting or wanting to have looked into and investigated, so it’s pretty much running all of the time.”
More than $140,000 in bonuses were paid-out to the four employees in the Mayor Pro Tem office over a year and a half period.