By Anthony Scott
Killeen Daily Herald
An offer from the Killeen City Council to buy out City Manager Connie Green is on the table after it was delivered to his home Friday afternoon by Assistant City Manager Glenn Morrison.
The offer was what Green said he expected; however, he would not confirm the amount. Multiple sources familiar with the agreement have said the amount is significantly higher than the previously reported figure of $400,000.
A formal decision is expected Tuesday at a special council meeting.
The city posted the meeting's agenda on its website Friday afternoon. The two items listed read that the council would meet in a private session to discuss the potential settlement and/or pending or contemplated litigation.
The council will then publicly vote for a final action relating to City Manager Connie Green's employment status. If a deal is not reached Tuesday night, Green said he assumed he'd be back to work the following morning.
The situation between the city and its manager of six years came to a boiling point after Green called a meeting with the council to discuss his duties at a March 15 executive
session. A second meeting was called Tuesday to continue the discussion. Both were behind closed doors.
Green said he called the first meeting to discuss the Open Meetings Act and personnel matters.
"I discussed those concerns in executive session and probably I should not comment on what was discussed other than I felt like there were issues that I felt needed to be brought to their attention," Green said Friday in an exclusive interview with the Herald.
'Time to move forward'
Green said the open meetings issues he brought up to the council were probably a contributing factor to the decision that it was "time to move forward."
"I felt strong enough about (the Open Meetings Act) that I needed to bring it to their attention," he said.
Green said the county attorney had issued warnings to council members about their adherence to the Open Meetings Act.
"I stand on what I believe and what I discussed with council was appropriate," he said. "If standing on what you believe is appropriate and right is the wrong thing to do, then I guess I made a mistake."
In the event of a job termination, Green likely stands to receive a severance package worth at least $400,000, which would be two years worth of compensation plus specific benefits called by an agreement clause in his contract with the city.
Each council member was asked for an opinion on the situation; only one was available Friday who talked about the situation.
Culture of secrecy
Councilman Larry Cole said that while the council gave Green a raise about six months ago, the governing body didn't have all the information it currently does. Cole also confirmed that in his opinion a culture of secrecy does exist at City Hall.
"The honest answer is yes, in my opinion, just in my opinion," he said. "I've been associated with them about 20-plus years. It is not new to this administration."
Cole said he can only speak for himself, not the entire council, in that Green's management style was an issue.
"The secrecy is the management style," Cole said. "That's just simply me."
Mayor Pro Tem Scott Cosper, Councilmen Billy Workman Juan Rivera and Councilwoman and candidate JoAnn Purser did not return messages Friday.
Councilman Ernest Wilkerson said he had no comment; Councilman Ken Wells hung up the phone.
As of Wednesday, Green was officially on leave from the city after premature rumors circulated that he resigned.
Those rumors have been continuously dispelled by Killeen spokeswoman Hilary Shine and Green.
Green said Mayor Tim Hancock acted as a mediator between the council and Green.
"I believe he's been a referee and I think he's done an excellent job as the mayor of the city of Killeen in trying to maintain a process that doesn't get out of control," Green said.
Green's salary is about $190,000 a year. When he started as city manager in 2005, his salary was $135,000.
Green, 49, was named the city's finance director in 1990. In 2000, he became assistant city manager.
He would later assume the city manager's position in 2005 after his predecessor, David Blackburn, accepted the position of Temple city manager.
If the council formally approves the buyout, the city will operate under Assistant City Manager Glenn Morrison.
Green expressed his support for Morrison, saying, "I assume that in the interim Mr. Morrison would do a fine job, and I would hope that they would give him due consideration in being named as my replacement."
Contact Anthony Scott at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7568. Follow him on Twitter at KDHcity.