The Killeen City Council planned to appoint a new presiding municipal judge at its regular meeting Tuesday, but city staff scratched the item from the agenda because the selected candidate declined the offer, said Mayor Dan Corbin.
Corbin said the candidate selected by the council, in a 4-3 vote during a closed-session meeting, informed city staff Tuesday that he was unable to meet the requirement stating the presiding municipal judge reside in Killeen.
Corbin said the selected candidate currently lives in Waco and couldn’t commit to moving to Killeen because his wife is a professor at Baylor University.
Corbin said the council may go with the candidate who was runner-up, but it will have to revisit the issue to determine its next move.
According to city documents, five candidates were interviewed last week by a committee comprised of Councilmen Jonathan Okray, Wayne Gilmore and Steve Harris, Mayor Pro Tem Elizabeth Blackstone, City Manager Glenn Morrison, current municipal Judge William Gibson and Roshanda Smiley, the city’s director of human resources.
Following the first round of interviews, two candidates moved on to a second round where all council members were present to vote on who they saw as best suited for the bench.
The presiding municipal judge oversees traffic offenses and other Class C misdemeanors, city ordinance violations and juvenile court.
The position was advertised with a salary of $102,000. The salary was increased from $100,000 following a recommendation from Assistant City Manager Ann Farris.
Farris’ recommendation came after studies were done comparing Killeen’s salary for the position to cities within an hour’s distance and cities of comparable size.
The city began its search for a new presiding judge following Gibson’s announcement he was retiring upon his tenure expiring this month.
Gibson began serving as interim judge in June 2009 when Barbara Weaver retired, and was appointed to the position by the council in December 2009.
It’s unclear when the council will make a decision on going with the runner-up candidate or conducting another round of interviews.