Sweetwater Mayor Jose Diaz says he wants to hire an external consulting firm to audit the city’s police and finance department, but some commissioners have expressed concern that that may be an unnecessary expense.
The move would come amid a slew of scrutiny from the FBI over the actions of police officials.
“I want to hire an external consulting firm to make an audit in the police and finance department, to see what areas of improvement we have to make and get recommendations so we can streamline the effectiveness of both departments,” Diaz said.
Diaz said he didn’t know how much it would cost to hire an external team of auditors but is working on a proposal, which he intends to present to commissioners soon.
Commission Vice President Orlando Lopez said he supported transparency but felt that hiring auditors wasn’t necessary — that the mayor should discover weaknesses and deficiencies in the city himself.
“If he wants to hire an outside consulting firm to find where the weaknesses are, then I don’t think he should be the mayor,” he said after the meeting on Monday. “You are being paid as mayor to figure out what the deficiencies are, the vision for the city, and not an outside team to do it. You are paying someone to do your job.”
The city already hires auditors for its finances.“If he wants to have auditors for finances, he is correct, we have someone that audits the finances,” Lopez added. “I think it’s redundant. I agree with transparency, but not spending excess money.”
Diaz said that if such a move had been implemented in the past, then Sweetwater wouldn’t be dealing with any of its current issues.
Diaz said that if the commission shuts down his idea, the move would hurt the city.
“I plan to bring it to the commission. If they don’t approve it, I hope they can explain to constituents why they didn’t support it,” Diaz said.