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Council debates committee appointments

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LOCAL GOVERNMENT

A heated debate broke out at the Killeen City Council’s regular meeting Tuesday concerning appointments to a citizens advisory committee that will interview the finalists for the city manager position Friday.

At issue was the appointment of two committee members: former Killeen Economic Development Corporation president Pat Kaufman, nominated by Mayor Jose Segarra, and KISD Superintendent John Craft, nominated by Mayor Pro Tem Brockley Moore. Neither of the appointees lives in Killeen but both are involved with the city.

Councilwoman Shirley Fleming led the charge against the selections, saying the involvement of committee members who are not Killeen residents is “inappropriate.”

“If we’re going to make a choice, we need to involve people right here in Killeen,” she said. “This is our forensic audit, our city manager. We need a voice for Killeen.”

Those remarks began a chippy back-and-forth between Fleming and Segarra.

“These people selected are involved (in Killeen),” Segarra said. “Sometimes more so than some of the citizens of Killeen. When we ask people to come into Killeen, we don’t say ‘You have to live in Killeen.’”

Councilman Richard “Dick” Young also spoke against the selections.

“I can’t recall the city of Killeen being deeply involved in a committee to pick a superintendent for Killeen schools,” Young said in reference to Craft’s selection. “This is an event in Killeen’s history that is pivotal, and we have to ensure that the needs of all the people of Killeen are met.”

Councilman Juan Rivera was in favor of the two appointments, saying that the next city manager should be familiar with business interests in Killeen.

“I believe the business community has a relationship with the city manager,” Rivera said. “Also, there were no prerequisites at the time for who was picked (for the committee).”

Young added, “We probably could have avoided this issue if we had just not called it a ‘citizens’ advisory committee.”

The council voted 5 to 2, appointing the committee as presented but with Fleming and Young in dissent.

The committee will interview the three remaining finalists for the city manager position — Daniel Biles, John Murphy and Ron Olson — in public at 1:30 p.m. Friday at Stonetree Golf Club, 1600 Stonetree Drive in Killeen. The committee’s opinions then will be presented to council members during the interview with finalists in closed session Saturday.

The city also announced the public will have access to comment cards at the open interview Friday. The cards will be submitted to the council alongside the committee’s opinion.

In other business, the council:

Swore in and appointed the newest members of the Killeen Youth Advisory Commission. The commission exists to assist in minimizing community problems relating to youth, while encouraging positive growth and development through participation in social, cultural and recreational activities that are meant to empower youth in a drug and alcohol free environment, according to the city’s website.

Approved a resolution authorizing the lease of a front-wheel loader for the Killeen Solid Waste Transportation Station.

Approved a resolution authorizing the commercial lease of a new location for the city’s printing services.

kyleb@kdhnews.com | 254-501-7567

kyleb@kdhnews.com | 254-501-7567

(6) comments

Alvin

This is the personal opinion of this writer.
@UT Fan: I am amazed that you cannot define the difference between what is a civil service job that the employee 'works for the people and one as a private employee. And @UT Fan: We will never give up trying to 'Write from wrong' and that is just the way it is.
As for your statement: 'There is an opportunity for our citizens to go and meet and visit with the candidates, and I think this is a generous and good idea.' How much time is going to be allotted for each candidate as I assume each candidate 'will be allotted some time to say something to the crowd', With a crowd of say 25 to 50, 'how much time is going to be allotted to each person in the audience, bearing in mind that it is premised that a crowd is of the magnitude of 30 to 50', and what is to be 'the card to be filled out by crowds'. Now if you say that each candidate will have approximately 15 minute to 'talk about himself, and then you use the same numbers, 30 to 50 in the audience and with the low number of 30, you have that 30 each ask 1 question to each of the 3 candidates and their question only takes up 3 minutes duration for a total of 270 minutes, then you have asked that the crowd write down some questions before hand, if the 'dog and pony show starts at 1:30PM I estimate that it would take over 5:25 hours not including the cards and letters to be filled out in advance, which would be 6:45 hours in duration. Now when do you expect the candidates to meet with the city council if you have an evening meal before meeting with the council? And that is why I refer to this sideshow as a 'dog abd pony show. You have tried to influence the citizens with a show of 'presenting the candidate to the citizen but you do not allow enough time to really qualify for transparency.
As to the appointments and I again refer to your statement: 'As for the appointments of Dr. John Craft & Pat Kaufman, I totally support their inclusion on this committee. Dr. John Craft lives in Harker Heights, and although not Killeen, he must reside in KISD per his contract and a requirement from the KISD Board of Trustees and that is close enough for me. I believe that his inclusion on the committee to hire a city manager is absolutely essential and appropriate. As to Dr. John Craft, I say 'he has a mail drop somewhere in Killeen, but he spends his time at his residence', and you've got to be kidding if you think otherwise. Plus he is an employee of the KSID public service, not an ordinary citizen like the 3 of us you have pointed out.
I think it is a total farce for the city of Killeen to expect anything else from 'we citizens of Killeen'.
One of the 3% who voted.

eyewatchingu

@Bear3 @Alvin @timebandid I agree with all three of you

UT Fan

@Bear3 and @Alvin you people just never quit do you? The interviews with candidates should NOT be handled in a public manner. Interviews for prospective employees should not be handled in the public eye. There is an opportunity for our citizens to go and meet and visit with the candidates, and I think this is a generous and good idea. As for the appointments of Dr. John Craft & Pat Kaufman, I totally support their inclusion on this committee. Dr. John Craft lives in Harker Heights, and although not Killeen, he must reside in KISD per his contract and a requirement from the KISD Board of Trustees and that is close enough for me. I believe that his inclusion on the committee to hire a city manager is absolutely essential and appropriate. His vested interest is the Killeen ISD, and having a good partnership with the city leadership and the district leadership is vitally important. I also appreciate Pat Kaufman being asked to be on the committee, as a long-time businessman in our community, he has an equally vested interest in the successful hire for the city manager. Although Pat does not live in Killeen, his livelihood is dependent on the community. Pat is very involved in our community as he serves on several boards and organizations, including the Food Care Center. I appreciate that there will be these folks on the committee who are intelligent, who look at the big picture, who have experience with being responsible for large sums of money and who employ many people. These men are extremely intelligent and very community minded. I, for one, am super glad they are part of the committee...now let's hope they can find a match for our city. :)

timebandid

Another big let down by our current council members. I am surprised that only Fleming and Young stood to speak out against non-resident individuals being allowed to serve on this pivotal committee. Where are the others whom we chose to represent us? This is totally opposed to that collective citizens' voice. Also, why have you allowed past government officials to be on this committee and why won't true residents be allowed to ask questions from the floor? Where is the transparency we have sought for over the past year?

Bear3

I agree with Alvin, spot on with your comments!
Kaufman is one of the 13 C also; how did that happen?
He must have some deep pockets?!

Alvin

This is the personal opinion of this writer.
I am amazed at the shenanigans at this what this city council has become. I applaud councilwoman Fleming and councilman Young for sticking to their guns on the case of 'who and what does it will take for committee representation that will represent the people of Killeen'. I once again say, 'In my personal opinion, the characteristics of a representative to represent the people of the city of Killeen should reside within the city limits of Killeen'. But I disagree with you councilman Young when you said 'if we had just not called it a ‘citizens’ advisory committee.' I think that we should not be 'setting the wording of the committee to satisfy public demand, call it by the name that it is to satisfy the requirements of what it has to do, 'a Committee that is to satisfy the requirements for the selection of a new city manager'. But don't dance around the requirements for what the selection of the new committee is to accomplish and don't dance around who is to be committee members. I feel this has once again be the ploy of certain members of the city administrative services. It is my opinion that 'it should have been left to a city advisory committee to 'call for a committee to plan, advise, and call for the city manager manager.' I feel it is the same case for the audit committee. No single individual or group of individuals in this present city management should have ever been in the responsible charge of this activity, the formation of an audit committee.
Copy: 'The committee will interview the three remaining finalists for the city manager position — Daniel Biles, John Murphy and Ron Olson — in public at 1:30 p.m. Friday at Stonetree Golf Club, 1600 Stonetree Drive in Killeen. The committee’s opinions then will be presented to council members during the interview with finalists in closed session Saturday.' End of copy.
Why are you going into hibernation, in a closed door session, to discuss 'what is going to be said that the city of Killeen is not privy to'.
As I understand it, the committee members, 'after they have passed the muster of the responsible one'. Will be permitted to question the remaining ones, but the general public will not have a voice in these proceedings, then after the committee has a chance, I guess in closed door fashion, will once again, in closed door fashion speak with the council about their opinion of 'the 3 remaining finalists'. Why all of this secrecy? Why don't you you entertain the notion of 'letting the citizens of their town have a voice in 'who is to run this city'?
Copy: 'The city also announced the public will have access to comment cards at the open interview Friday. The cards will be submitted to the council alongside the committee’s opinion.' End of copy.
Why doesn't the committee 'open to the floor question about the qualifications of the 3 remaining proponents to the city manager's position​?' No if's, ands, or buts about it. Let the citizens of Killeen have a voice in 'who is to be their choice for city manager.
In other business, there was a proposition to 'buy out' the city of Killeen's in the refuse hauling. Why is this city going, 'in the same direction, and that is 'approving a resolution authorizing the lease of a front end loader for the Killeen Solid Waste Transportation Station'? Why hasn't that come in front of this council? It seems to me that this should have been a priority with the city council, as it involves millions of dollars 'that we no longer have'.
One of the 3% who voted.

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