City says AFD technician misused resources for family business

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — The City of Austin’s Office of the City Auditor recently released an audit explaining that it found evidence that an equipment technician with the Austin Fire Department misused his city computer and email for a business he and his wife own.

According to the audit, Brian Kline, an AFD Equipment Technician II, used his email account to arrange purchases from city vendors for this second job. The audit says that Kline, through this second job, performed work for at least one of these vendors.

The city also says that included in the evidence are two emails in which Kline asked a city employee, who makes stickers and car decals in a different department, to make stickers for his secondary employment.

In a response to the investigation, Kline apologized saying that the computer use was a simple mistake. Kline said:

“City of Austin also found that I was using a City of Austin computer for personal use which also I owned but will add that “web Browsing” is something we all do regardless personal or work related and I find this to be absolutely ridiculous that the audit office is even using this as one of their “Findings”.

In his response, Kline says that no stickers or decals were ever made for him or his company and that any time he had asked the person who made the decals if he could make them, he was speaking in general, as someone who didn’t know about decals to someone who did. 

Kline also said that he never received “kick-backs, discounts, promotions, whatever” from vendors, saying: “My city job was and still is a passion for me and I had no desire to receive anything else other than a paycheck from the City of Austin.”

In his response, Kline says the whole reason he even started the business he shares with his wife is that he had asked for promotions and pay increases which he never recieved.

Kline has resigned from AFD effective May 31. In his resignation letter, Kline says: 

“It has always been a dream of mine to work for myself. As difficult as it was to make this decision, a lot of thought and consideration went into it. I have made the decision that this is the time for me to make the move….During my last two months, I will do my best to complete my duties and train my replacement and/or my coworkers.”

The city includes this statement in the audit: “We were unable to determine whether Kline abused his position in the City to provide special treatment to City vendors in return for favors related to his secondary employment.”

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