Killeen City Council member Gregory Johnson took to Facebook Wednesday night to explain his absence from a closed session meeting of the council Tuesday.
Following Tuesday’s workshop, the council met in a closed session, where it reviewed City Manager Ron Olson’s second year in his position, and decided on a rating of “Excellent” for Olson.
Johnson, who was the only council member to vote in opposition of hiring Olson in 2017, left prior to the closed session, reportedly without telling anyone. According to Mayor Jose Segarra, Johnson also missed last month’s evaluation of the city auditor, and has not attended any of Olson’s 100-day updates.
Johnson claims the council discusses other issues not on the executive session agenda when it goes behind closed doors to discuss staff evaluations, such as Olson’s case. And some items should be in full view of the public, he said.
“I will NOT participate in any closed session portion of a Killeen City Council meeting that violates the Texas Opening Meetings Act or makes critical decisions directly affecting citizens and taxpayers in secret that should be discussed in the public’s view. Closed sessions are NOT to be used to discuss anything other than what’s listed on the agenda,” Johnson said on his Facebook page. “There’s a clear difference between going into closed session to discuss litigation or other issues that are more beneficial to the interests of citizens to be discussed in private versus outright purposely secluding citizens from the decision making process.
“If an agenda item in closed session states ‘city manager evaluation,’ that is the only thing that should be discussed. We should not be discussing or making decisions on other issues that are not on the agenda and that should be discussed in the public’s view.”
However, according to Segarra, nothing else was discussed during the closed session on Tuesday.
“No, that was the only thing we discussed,” Segarra said. “The city manager first gave the council an update on his last 100 days, as he always does, and which also serves as part of his evaluation. The council can then use that along with his previous 100 day presentation to rate him and see if he is meeting the expectations of the council and city.”
Johnson claims the city is “hindered by transparency concerns and the lack of trust in the eyes of citizens and taxpayers. Killeen citizens and taxpayers can count on me to be transparent and accountable to them while serving as one of their City councilmembers,” he said on Facebook.
Johnson did not respond to questions from the Herald Wednesday or Thursday regarding the meeting, nor did he have any examples on his Facebook post of what kind of items are discussed that he claims are not on the agenda.
Johnson later responded to a comment on the post by saying, “Let me repeat myself to ensure that I’m clear and firm. I attend and fully engage in all city council meetings. If the City Council goes into closed session and I feel in my opinion that it is violating the Texas Open Meetings Act, lacks transparency or steps into the realm of unethical actions, I will remove myself. I don’t run with the pack nor will I follow anyone off a cliff. I refuse to get caught up in any unethical or immoral actions.”