By Anthony Scott
Killeen Daily Herald
Several Killeen City Council members met on the steps of City Hall Friday afternoon to tell their side of buying out former City Manager Connie Green for $750,000.
Presenting was Mayor Pro Tem Scott Cosper, along with council members Kenny Wells and JoAnn Purser, who were part of a 4-3 vote to approve the buyout. Councilman Ernest Wilkerson, who also approved the buyout, was not at the conference.
Cosper immediately denied allegations that open meetings violations had occurred, in response to allegations that council members had been involved.
"There have been allegations that may, or may not, have been open meetings violations," Cosper said. "Those are unfounded. They're baseless and irresponsible comments."
Councilman Larry Cole had previously said in an interview his passing around emails to other council members who already had the items may be construed as a walking quorum, a violation of the Texas Open Meetings Act.
In a closed session last month, Green told the City Council he could no longer work for Killeen and presented a demand for an amount "significantly higher" than $750,000.
The number was less than $1 million, Cosper said Friday.
Cole voted against the buyout, along with council members Billy Workman and Juan Rivera.
"(The council told Green) they wanted to work out whatever differences there were between the council and elected officials," Cosper said. "At that time he grew angry and the relationships began to fail. It became obvious to us we no longer had an effective relationship."
Cosper said the money to pay off Green will come from the reserve fund and $100,000 will come from the city manager's budget.
Green, 49, started with the city in 1990 as finance director and was promoted to assistant city manager in 2000. He became city manager in 2005, and originally was paid about $135,000 annually.
Green assumed his current position after former City Manager David Blackburn accepted the same position with Temple.
By the end of his tenure, Green's salary had been raised multiple times after several evaluations, putting his annual salary at about $195,000.
The council had the option to stick to the letter of the contract and pay him about $555,000 for his departure, with no litigious clauses that would release both parties, Cosper said.
When asked if Green had threatened litigation, Purser began to answer, but Cosper cut her off and changed the subject.
However, Cole indicated in a previous interview that Green had threatened it.
"At that point we had to make a decision," Cosper said of the council's buyout discussion. "Do we have a termination and we end the relationship on a bad term? Or do we negotiate with a 21-year employee an amicable departure for both sides with clauses releasing both parties of any kind of litigation whether they're merited or not?"
Contact Anthony Scott at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7568. Follow him on Twitter at KDHcity.