Following a ceremony to swear in the new Killeen City Council on Tuesday, one councilman abstained from voting to appoint a mayor pro tem over accusations of state law violations by the previous council.

Four council members were sworn in during the ceremony presided over by Mayor Jose Segarra at City Hall.

Councilman Jonathan Okray announced the canvassed votes for the May 6 city election, confirming wins for incumbent Shirley Fleming, District 1; Debbie Nash-King, the newcomer and top vote-getter in District 2; incumbent Jim Kilpatrick, District 3; and Steve Harris, District 4.

The official results showed 3,079 of the city’s 70,278 registered voters cast a ballot May 6 — or a 4.38 percent turnout.

After the new members took their seats, a strange sequence of events led to the appointment of Kilpatrick as mayor pro tem, the council’s backup presiding officer.

According to the City Charter, the mayor pro tem is a largely ceremonial position with the responsibility to preside over City Council meetings if the mayor is absent.

Kilpatrick was nominated by Councilman Juan Rivera, while Councilman Gregory Johnson was nominated by Fleming. Both Kilpatrick and Johnson

received three votes from the council, but Okray abstained.

Instead of voting, Okray submitted a statement for the record saying he could not vote to appoint either nominee due to his belief that the previous council had violated the Texas Open Meetings Act’s “walking quorum” rule because members allegedly joined a private Facebook group and discussed city business outside of a public meeting.

On Friday, Killeen Police Department spokeswoman Ofelia Miramontez confirmed Okray submitted a statement to the Killeen Police Department with his complaint in mid-February. The statement was later forwarded to Bell County Attorney Jim Nichols.

Okray said Nichols sent him an email in return suspending a possible investigation because there was no evidence to support Okray’s claims.

The Herald editorial staff has received a forwarded email from Okray for more than 230 straight days with an invitation from former Killeen Mayor Raul Villaronga to join a private Facebook group. Okray has declined to respond to Herald reporters’ questions on other topics since the email chain began.

The Herald has investigated the email and has so far found no evidence of the group’s current existence or any indication council business was conducted on the group’s page.

Okray, however, said in his statement “media” refused to follow the email despite a response from a Herald reporter indicating the matter was being investigated.

“My observation is that the Killeen Daily Herald has opted for narrative rather than an objective paradigm in reporting the news,” he said in an email Nov. 12.

Because of the tie, Segarra voted to appoint Kilpatrick.

At a workshop session following the ceremony, the council discussed the renewal of a citywide youth curfew ordinance.

The council engaged in another long debate about the ordinance along familiar battle lines.

Fleming again supported lowering the curfew to 10 p.m. on all nights of the week with support from Johnson, while other members of the council highlighted the need for better parenting of juveniles.

The council reached a consensus to vote on the ordinance as currently constructed at its regular meeting May 23.

The council also conducted a closed-door, informal performance appraisal of City Manager Ron Olson’s first 100 days in office.

According to Olson’s contract approved Feb. 7, Olson is subject to informal reviews each quarter as well as a formal annual performance review.

kyleb@kdhnews.com | 254-501-7567

(10) comments

Alvin
Alvin

This is the personal opinion of this writer.
@eyewatchingu: Ah, but there you have it, paraphrase: ' dist Councilman can vote the way his dist wants and it keeps the council honest'. I personally don't think that this is a system, Killeen, that is 'honest and trustworthy', and I base this on what I have observed, what I have read, the actions of the personnel in general. I personally do not think that we have a city management 'that fits that bill' and I quantify 'city management in general'.
Yes I agree that the Chief of Police should be an elected position, but I think that a/the city manager should be able to 'go before the council, state the case of why he/she needs to be replaced, if council supports, then the firing is appropriate.
And I agree that, paraphrase: ' this city is corrupted, it will not change until we remove them all, along with all these silly commetties they start'.
I don't think tho that 'committee action is wrong, only those that we choose, or the council chooses, to be a member of that certain committee.
And yes, I agree that this city has been too lax in 'letting the people choose who is going to be on the council, the mayor, the committee members, and yes, the city manager' for in my personal opinion, we have a city manager that, 'was willing to sneak in through the back door, thru closed doors, and has secured a contract that he more or less tailored made to his own liking'. There is too much secrecy in this town. A town is, or should be, open and above board in all of the city business.
In this I refer to comments that are attributable to 'The City Manager' in other works and publications' recently aired in this newspaper.
This has been my personal opinion and is not to be construed anything other than 'my own personal opinion'.
One of the 4,58 percent who voted.

eyewatchingu
eyewatchingu

@Alvin, Most large cities, or at lest the large cities I have lived in have dist councilman and woman and then one at large that represents that dist as a whole at City Council Meetings. It is usually 3 councilman per dist and one at large because this way you get most of the people in a Dist heard and then your dist Councilman can vote the way his dist wants and it keeps the council honest. Most cities do it this way because usally they have their own Dist Police Departments and so on.
I also belive we the citzens should be the ones to vote in a new Chief of police, most major places do this, because it keeps down corruption in the PDs as well as voting in your Fire Chief. This also cuts down on corruption and allows different people a chance to get involved with their city.
Here in Killeen they do not allow any one to get involved unless they are related or friends. This is why the city of Killeen has become little New Orleans or aka wanna be east st louis thugs.
The corruption in this town is thick, and it makes this city smell bad, and the truth is, Killeen will never change with Fleming and many others that suck our city dry. Mrs Fleming caught in video tape telling her supporters to tell people Mrs Teel wasn't running, Mrs Teel going to that Voting station catching it on tape, Mrs Teel calls PD asking for PD to come down, They never show. Mrs Teel getting threats from Phyllis Jones, who not only claimed to be a KPD Officer, she claimed to be Human Task Force, MRs Teel Files complaint at PD because the KPD says the woman is not an officer, yet this woman runs around town telling everyone shes a cop, and is the chair for the NAACP ( even passes her Dj card out that has one side in gold saying she is the chair for the NAACP). Yet you go to Jones FB page she is mixed in with two black hate groups, yet is involved with both Fleming, Nash-King and so on.
How about the fact Mrs Fleming had people going door to door with flyers of Mrs Teel police records only for Mrs Teel to get a hold of one and it wasn't even her record. Yet Mrs Fleming people passed one around said that Mrs Teel is child Molester and that Mrs Teel had an abortion, Mrs Teel Never had an abortion.
@Alvin, this city is corrupted and like I have said, it will not change until we remove them all, along with all these silly commetties they start, because they are not even legally ran. Look it up, and the state laws on holding these groups and meetings. Sadly The Democrats and Republicans here in this town are both as crooked as a new Olean's refugee with a government credit card.

Alvin
Alvin

This is the personal opinion of this writer.
@Pharon Enochs: 'By golly, I think you've hit the nail on it's head. I too feel that ;it is for the benefit 'of others' that I think the system has never gone back.
Now if the council would 'get moving and ask, no demand', now I've used the word that I really detest, but something has got to be done otherwise we will never get any change and the town will continue to get us further and further in debt, or they will just continue to keep on raising our taxes. Something has got to give in this system of continued indebtedness.
One of the 4.68 percent who voted.

Pharon Enochs

The following comments are indeed the opinions of Pharon Enochs If memory serves me right some years back all city council positions were at large. Someone felt with all council positions being at large positions was the cause of low voter turnout. Someone suggested having several at large positions and then make some areas/districts selective to particular areas of town would increase voter turnout. I also seem to remember after several years of this new voting system it was found not only was there less voter turnout as a whole but in the districts the voter turnout was extremely low. As usual I am sure somewhere in some fairly old KDH editions if some research is done will bear out this information. I am not sure why the system was not changed to back to the old way if in fact the idea was to increase voter turnout. It could be the system was working to someone approval by having to only obtain a small fraction of all voters to gain control over several districts. This I believe falls in line with Alvin's comments. God bless America, President Trump and John Wayne where ever he may be.

Alvin
Alvin

This is the personal opinion of this writer.
@Majagi: Good point Sir, but like you have stated, 'Not everything is a conspiracy'. Yes I agree, but when you get a 'minor vote of 350', out of a town with a population of say 120,000, this is certainly a very small minority of votes where as to 'hang your hat on the aspects of of this vote', you have to contemplate 'what if this candidate had not had the backing of certain politicians and here to fore movement from the sidelines. If the poll had been as I have described it, would the same product have been produced????
On the other hand, as you have pointed out, would the same conclusions have been produced in a district by district voting scheme was held vs: a 'at-large vote of all 7 councilmen/women????
I do not share your view that this town is so divided as to require independent voice of each part of the city. If that was the case, 'why are so many homes being built in the southern section of town, or why did they shut down the Fire Station in the northern portion of this town in order to build a brand new building in the South, and I could go on and on and on.
I personally believe that there is a movement afoot, by certain individuals, to 'take over this city council and most if not all of the primary committees of this town, and sew this city up in a nice neat little ball'. And I say that because of all of the publicity surrounding some members of this town and the way the voting record has been over the years, and it's getting worse.
As to councilman Okray, for years I've had the displeasure of watching other councilmen/women the mayor, and certain parts of this town's management look on Mr. Okray with a certain, disdain, and it was evident from the gallery. But this does not excuse councilman Okray's movement at last night 's meeting. I agree with you, if you hold a position, then you have an obligation to not abstain in a vote that held the magnitude of this vote. Why give the mayor the chance to select his chosen one one who will carry on the tradition that this vote held. Councilman Okray, you messed up this opportunity that was afforded you.
Of course, this has been a presentation, solely of my personal opinion, and nothing should be construed as this not being my personal opinion.
One of the 4,58 percent of the voting public.

MAJAG89

Or maybe the district system with at-large councilman is a way to ensure all sections of the city are represented (folks in North Killeen have very different concerns than those in South Killeen) and thereby ensuring that the council is not overwhelmed by an overactive minority of the 4% who cared to vote. Not everything is a conspiracy. And being a "voice in the wilderness" is a noble cause, but at some point Mr. Okray needs to become part of the solution and not just the "town crier". Abstaining gives Mr. Okray no absolution on the debacle that is the Killeen city council. I'm pretty sure he wasn't elected to abstain from voting.Those who elected him were expecting him to work towards solutions and not just be the "angry guy" at the meeting.

Alvin
Alvin

This the personal opinion of this writer.
@darkessence: Glad for to aboard. That is a pretty good comment, but 'don't you want to give everyone the chance to vote for all candidates instead of selectively excluding 3/4ths of the city'???? What does it represent if the other, say on the basis of a population of 120,000 that you exclude 90,000 of those people from getting a chance to vote for the candidate of their choice???? What if the 'city chose to spur voting interest in the population if that spurring of interest would still be only 1/4th of the population???? Why is it that the 3 remaining candidates, are open to the city as a whole???? Do you not feel that 'this is an antiquated system of compiling the tally and thus should be done away with???? This, in my opinion, is for the good of the select few, for it impairs the total selection.
I have suggested this and it fell on deaf ears apparently. To some, 'why mess with a system that is functioning so effectively'????
One of the 4.58 percent who voted.

darkessence

[smile] If voter turnout is thought to be so poor that it skews an election, maybe the council should consider a plan to spur voter interest in the governing of the city; just a thought!

Alvin
Alvin

This is the personal opinion of this writer.
@Dr Strangelove: 'To say 'right is might', well not in the case of this town. Look at what the newspapers have been saying all along, 'the left is more powerful and only because this town doesn't care'.
Look at the voting record of this town, 4.58 percent I this it is. And in my opinion, it all comes down to, one of the major illustrations, is with this town broken down to the districts, Kilpatrick won his seat with only 350 votes out of say 100,000. And by Okray abstaining, Segarra was able to cast a vote for Kilpatrick, his sidekick, so 'the others win again'.
But this has been only my opinion.
One of the 4.58 percent who voted.

Dr Strangelove

We know Councilman Jonathan Okray is right.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.