Audit Division

Staff Profiles

Courtney Smith, CPA, CFE, CIA, MBA – City Auditor
Courtney Smith directs the Internal Audit function for the Office of the City Controller which includes developing and implementing risk based Annual Audit Plans as approved by the City Controller, managing and developing professional staff, and facilitating communication and activities in matters involving potential fraud, waste, and abuse. Financial, performance, and compliance audits as well as special projects on various City of Houston departments, locations, functions and accounts, are directed in accordance with professional standards and authoritative guidance from the Institute of Internal Auditors and the Government Accountability Office.

Courtney earned her BBA in Accounting and MBA from the University of Houston and has over 35 years of audit and accounting experience in a variety of private sector industries, public accounting and government. Her experience includes attestation, internal and forensic audits, OMB A-133 Single Audit, governance, internal controls, risk assessment, and financial accounting roles.

A life member of the UH Alumni Organization, National Black MBA Association, and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., she is also a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA), the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (CFE), Texas Society of Certified Public Accountants (TSCPA), and the National Association of Black Accountants (NABA). She serves as a member of the TSCPA Single Audits & Governmental Accounting Committee and is an alumnus of Leadership Houston (XXV).

She attends Trinity United Methodist Church, is an avid sports fan, and enjoys travel, reading, and spending time with family and friends.

Olaniyi (“Ola”) Oyedele, CPA – Assistant City Auditor V (Audit Manager)
Olaniyi is responsible for planning, conducting and reporting on various audit engagements. His responsibilities include supervising and coordinating audits, reviewing audit work for thoroughness and ensuring audits are performed in accordance with applicable standards. Ola has over twenty (20) years of audit and accounting including international experience spanning various industries in the private sector and public accounting.

Ola earned his B.S. (Honors) from the University of Benin, Benin City, Nigeria, after which he earned his professional certification as a Chartered Accountant. Ola is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). Ola is an alumnus of Project Blueprint Class XXXII, a leadership program organized by United Way of Greater Houston. He currently serves as the Financial Advisor to the Board of Directors of Gulf Coast Community Services Association (GCCSA), a community action agency that serves citizens and residents of City of Houston and Harris County.

Theresa Watson, CIA – Assistant City Auditor V (Audit Manager)
Theresa manages the Internal Audit function for the Office of the City Controller. In this capacity, she is involved in the development and implementation of risk based Annual Audit Plans as approved by the City Controller. Theresa manages and develops professional staff, and facilitates communication regarding audit activities.

She earned her B.S. in Accounting from Southern University and has 30 years of audit, accounting, and management experience in healthcare, government, private and non-profit industries. Her experience includes internal auditing, OMB A-133 Single Audit, governance, internal controls, compliance, payroll, and financial accounting. Theresa is a member of the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA), where she is a certified IIA facilitator and serves on various IIA workgroups to enhance the professional development of internal auditing professionals.

Theresa loves sports, especially supporting her children’s sporting events, traveling, and spending time with family.

Mark Estrada, CPA – Assistant City Auditor IV
Mark Estrada received a BBA with a concentration in accounting from Corpus Christi State University (now reorganized as Texas A & M Corpus Christi). He recently joined the Audit Division in 2015 with over 20 years of experience primarily in internal auditing and accounting in local governmental units.

David Baszile, BBA – Assistant City Auditor III
David has more than 25 years of accounting experience, including software sales, systems conversion, start-up implementation and on-site support experience. He earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration with minors in economics and accounting. David has over 10 years experience as an IT Systems Analyst with both Operations and Project Manager’s experience in the Mental Health field. He has been an IT Auditor here at the City for over 4 years.

Barry Copeland, CPA – Assistant City Auditor III
Barry earned his Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Accounting from Prairie View A&M University in Prairie View, Texas. He has been a Certified Public Accountant in the State of Texas since 1988. An experienced auditor, Barry has more than 38 years of auditing, program analyst and project management experience. Having worked in the federal government, including the US Army Material Command, the DOD Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA) and at NASA, Johnson Space Center (JSC) in the aerospace industry. Barry has implemented Earned Value Management (EVM) systems for several major programs, including NASA’s Space Shuttle, Space Station, Orbital Space Plane and Technology Transfer Programs.

As an audit supervisor for the DCAA, he supervised several key audits including assignments identifying major fraud activities on federal government contracts. He also served as an Accounting Specialist in the United States Army, where he was Honorably Discharged. Barry has performed and supervised Operations, Economy and Efficiency audits as well as contract pricing audits and various system reviews at the Defense Contract Audit Agency and has worked on the OMB A-133 Single Audit, governance, internal controls, risk assessment, and financial accounting audits for the City of Houston. He is an avid fisherman and supports Houston sports teams.

Richard Denney, MBA – Assistant City Auditor II
Richard conducts and documents routine operating systems and accounting procedures as well as evaluate findings and assists in preparation of audit reports for the Audit Division of the Controller’s office. His responsibilities include auditing operating systems and/or accounting procedures to verify the existence, the thoroughness and compliance with internal controls. He evaluates findings and formulates recommendations for changes and/or improvements and prepares and/or revises routine audit programs. He also assists the Audit Division’s efforts in updating the City’s Enterprise Risk Assessment (ERA).

Richard earned his BBA in Business Finance and MBA from Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. He has several years of Auditing experience from his time with the Department of Homeland Security and private sector. He also worked for the Department of Veteran Affairs and served as a Combat Engineer in the United States Army where he was Honorably discharged at the rank of corporal.

He volunteers his time and efforts with various nonprofit organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, Junior Achievement, Red Cross, Gulf Coast Regional, Team Rubicon, and Lone Star Veterans Association and The Mission Continues to name a few. Richard is a member of MTSU Alumni association, Lambda Theta Phi Latin Fraternity, Inc. His wonderful wife, five amazing children and cutest grandson ever are the blessings that made him who he is today and he loves spending as much time with them as possible!

Jessica Monique Varner, MUPEP – Staff Analyst (Executive Level)
Jessica graduated from Xavier University of New Orleans Louisiana with a B.S. in Political Science and received her master’s degree in Urban Planning and Environmental Policy from Texas Southern University. With over 11 years of service with the City of Houston, Jessica serves as the Executive Staff Analyst for the Audit Division where she obtains and analyzes relevant data associated with audit projects, project management, and division performance. She also reviews audit contingency revenue and professional services contracts and manages the insurance compliance for the professional services vendors with the City of Houston.

Jessica is a member of the Order of the Eastern Star, Top Ladies of Distinction, and a committed volunteer for various community organizations. SEARCH Homeless Services. Aside from parenting her Yorkshire Terrier “Gucci”, she remains active in the Houston Community and attends Jordan Grove Missionary Baptist Church.