Austin school Trustee Yasmin Wagner misused city resources, audit finds

A city of Austin investigation by the auditor’s office released Thursday found that Austin school board member Yasmin Wagner misused city resources to do work for the school board.

Wagner is a manager in the city’s public information and communications office. The school board appointed her to a vacant spot on the board in September 2015 and she was elected to her first term in November.

The investigation arose from a February complaint against Wagner alleging that she misused city resources to undertake work for the school board on city time. The chief findings in the investigation were that Wagner had used her city computer to conduct business for the school board.

Investigators found at least 40 files on the city computer related to the school board, including her application for appointment, drafts of a speech she prepared for her swearing-in and items related to the school district’s budget. Her browser history also showed that she visited school board related website at least 370 times, the investigation states.

READ: Visit Austin staffers to pay for their own alcohol, promote only Austin musicians

In her response to the investigation, Wagner said that she often works up to 16 hour days juggling her roles as a city employee and school board member.

“I have never abused my time commitment to the city but have at times worked some unconventional hours with the approval of my management and as an exempt employee to be able to address all of my city responsibilities,” Wagner said.

The city hired Wagner in January 2015. Her annual salary is $92,414, according to the city.

When Wagner became a member of the Austin school board, she was warned against using city equipment or resources for any work related to the board or campaigning. However, she admitted to using a city printer at least 30 times to print school board documents, the investigation said.

She also told investigators that when she used her city computer for board business, it was during her lunch breaks and outside of her regular work hours, the investigation said.

READ: Free ACL passes return to City Hall

In an Oct. 11 memo to the auditor’s office, Doug Matthews, the head of the communications and public information office, said he would address the investigation’s findings with Wagner.

“I do feel that Ms. Wagner has made good faith efforts to maintain that separation in terms of her time and attendance; however it is clear that we must reiterate that the requirements and policies apply equally to the use of City technology and resources,” Matthews said in the memo.

In her response, Wagner said she has notified the city when her professional and school board responsibilities intersect and that she has abstained from any school board decision connected to city business.

“As stated in the report, my work as an AISD trustee is not compensated and it also reflects the City’s encouragement of employee volunteerism in neighborhood schools,” Wagner said. “My trustee role is a volunteer position that comes with a great deal of responsibility to stay on top of critical issues which can at times be unexpected.”

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Local

Dense fog advisory issued for Central Texas until 9 a.m.
Dense fog advisory issued for Central Texas until 9 a.m.

A dense fog advisory has been issued for much of Central Texas until 9 a.m. tomorrow, according to the National Weather Service. Counties impacted include Travis, Williamson, Bastrop, Hays, Llano, Burnet, Blanco, Lee, Caldwell and several other surrounding counties. Visibility is limited to a quarter mile or less, creating hazardous driving conditions...
Houston firefighter arrested for sexual assault of a child
Houston firefighter arrested for sexual assault of a child

A firefighter with the Houston Fire Department was arrested Saturday for having a sexual encounter with a girl aged 14 to 17, according to the Harris County Sheriff’s Office. Brandon Ramirez, 27, first started interacting with the girl online and sending her sexually explicit pictures and videos, according to HCSO. After communicating with her...
UPDATE: Road open, barricades up around East Austin sinkhole
UPDATE: Road open, barricades up around East Austin sinkhole

8:05 p.m.: Springdale Road in East Austin has been reopened to traffic in both directions, though barricades have been placed around the sinkhole in the middle of the road, police officials said. Drive with caution. 5:05 p.m.: Springdale Road in East Austin is closed in both directions between Webberville Road and 12th Street due to a growing sinkhole...
Fully involved mobile home fire extinguished in Bastrop County
Fully involved mobile home fire extinguished in Bastrop County

Bastrop firefighters took down a mobile home fire that had fully engulfed the entire structure on Triangle Acres Lane just off of Texas 71 in Wyldwood, Bastrop Emergency Services District No. 1 Fire Chief David Gahagan said. The blaze caused a “nice big black column of smoke” that was visible from the highway, Gahagan said. “It was...
Lack of transparency clouds spending decisions after Harvey
Lack of transparency clouds spending decisions after Harvey

Texas has been awarded billions of dollars in federal aid to help recover from Hurricane Harvey and the devastating flooding that followed, but it’s unclear how the state is spending its share of the money. State records don’t indicate which contracts are storm-related, making fund tracking — and spending accountability — nearly...
More Stories