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.
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