By Victor O'Brien

Killeen Daily Herald

The new Killeen City Council's first and only order of business Tuesday night provided sparks that might signal the beginning of fiery debates to come.

Newly elected council members JoAnn Purser and Ernest Wilkerson joined re-elected councilmen Juan Rivera and Kenny Wells in taking seats on the council Tuesday evening.

After the council members completed the oaths of office and signed the standard of conduct, the council chose a new mayor pro tem to succeed Fred Latham, who has reached term limits.

When Larry Cole nominated Scott Cosper, Ernest Wilkerson suggested, based on tradition, the seat go to a council member with more experience and a longer current tenure. Cole agreed that was tradition, but said Cosper's experience on committees and on the council made him a strong candidate.

Rivera seconded Cole's selection and then chided Billy Workman, not by name, as a council member who shows up for votes but often misses committee meetings.

"I take offense at that. Sometimes each and every council member ... sometimes we miss meetings," Workman said. Workman added Rivera was not informed of his personal reasons for why he did not attend a committee meeting earlier Tuesday.

Workman said it appeared the council had already chosen Cosper and ended his protest. The council voted 6 to 1 in favor of Cosper – with Workman being the only objection –

and Cosper took the seat beside Mayor Timothy Hancock.

Earlier in the meeting Hancock offered words of praise to outgoing Mayor Pro Tem Latham and councilman Otis Evans.

"You've been quiet. You've been reserved, but you've been thoughtful and thorough," Hancock said of Evans.

Hancock thanked Latham for helping him get his start in city politics and for supporting him through the years.

"Your guidance is what has helped me along the way," Hancock said. "It's not easy to sit there (in the mayor's seat) because when you sit there, you are alone, unless you have a supporting cast. You've been my supporting cast. I will miss you."

Contact Victor O'Brien at or (254) 501-7468.

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