Houston ISD has taken action against its Internal Auditor Richard Patton who, as we reported months ago, ignored the concerns of 34-year employee Frank Hodges about mismanagement and corruption in the district.

Hodges repeatedly reported his concerns to Patton who in turn said, “I feel confident that any concerns will be addressed in a manner to protect HISD…” Well, apparently HISD wasn’t too confident in his performance.

The letter from Human Resources to Patton cites the allegations as reason for his temporary suspension. It reads:

“Based on allegations of misconduct and other performance concerns you are being temporarily relieved of your duties and reassigned to home duty, effective immediately. We believe it is in your best interest and that of Houston Independent School District that you be temporarily reassigned until further notice.”

While Patton did ignore concerns from employees, he deserves credit for questioning the false claims made by district administration during the revelation of the bond shortfall.

When former Superintendent Terry Grier attributed “inflation in construction costs” as the reason for the bond’s $200 million shortfall, Patton rebuked those claims by determining that, “inflation itself is not the key driver in the request for additional [bond] funds.”

Patton was the only HISD official, aside from the Superintendent, to report directly to the board, some accused him of retaliation for failing to toe the line by parroting the administration’s narrative regarding the bond shortfall.

Patton was hired by Grier in 2010 as a compliance officer and was promoted by the board in 2014 to the position of Chief Internal Auditor. Aside from this instance his formal performance reviews have been rated nothing less than effective.

Board Members, HISD officials, and Patton have so far refused to comment on the allegations. Only time will tell what the investigation will reveal. Whatever the misconduct Patton has been accused of will surely had an impact on the district, its students, and taxpayers making transparency from the board of utmost importance.

Charles Blain

Charles Blain is the president of Urban Reform and Urban Reform Institute. A native of New Jersey, he is based in Houston and writes on municipal finance and other urban issues.