While Killeen officials have disagreed about much throughout the proceedings for fired finance director Barbara Gonzales, all parties seem to agree that the city employee appeal process is flawed.

A four-member grievance hearing board recommended Tuesday that Killeen City Manager Glenn Morrison reinstate Gonzales, based on its findings during an April 24 hearing.

Morrison promptly rejected the panel’s recommendation and upheld his Dec. 12 termination of Gonzales.

Rosa Hereford, who has been on the grievance hearing board for three years, said that in most of the cases the board has heard, terminating the employee was easily justifiable.

“This is a very unique case,” Hereford said. “We’ve never had a case where the city manager was directly involved in the case.”

Killeen City Council members have been slow to comment, out of concern that their comments may alter the course of the court proceedings involved with the whistleblower lawsuit Gonzales filed against the city in March. Her trial is expected to be heard in early 2014.

Mayor Pro Tem Michael Lower said he thought the city should be run as a business and that as CEO, Morrison should have full authority to hire and fire city employees.

The hearing board did not serve its intended purpose for such a high administrator in City Hall, Lower said.

“It is a bad process,” Lower said. “You don’t see that kind of process happen in any kind of organization.”

Councilman Terry Clark said he thought it might be time for the council to intervene in the case.

“This is the city manager’s committee and not the city council’s,” Clark said.

“I believe that the time has come for the city council to intervene, and formally request that the city’s employee grievance process be presented and explained to the city council in the form of a summative report that defines and discloses the process.”

As with many council members who were asked to comment on the case, Clark said he did not have enough information to make a specific statement about potential changes to the current policy.

“The city of Killeen has grown during the past 12 years. I am not sure that the policies and procedures that City Hall follows have continued to keep up with our growth,” Clark said.

The Killeen Civilian Personnel Hearing Board will convene again Tuesday to hear the case of fired Fleet Services mechanic John Acker. Acker also fired a lawsuit against the city under the Texas Whistleblower Act.

Contact Brandon Janes at bjanes@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7552


(4) comments


@Alvin & Max 67:Both make some good points. Propositions on May 11 ballot are chock full of changes to city charter but don't reflect any new changes/updates for personnel policies. It does show priorities.


"Mayor Pro Tem Michael Lower said he thought the city should be run as a business and that as CEO, Morrison should have full authority to hire and fire city employees."

In the private sector, a CEO who has done the things Glenn has done, costing the company the kind of financial losses he has cost the taxpayers, would have been fired, himself, a long time ago. That's assuming a private company would've been able to withstand such losses.

Mr. Lower refers to Glenn as such a "high official," I don't know about most people, but I would tend to expect such a high official to have much higher standards than he's been shown to have and not waste the taxpayers' funds to pay off/buy the silence of former city managers and girlfriends and demand to be able to spend $17,000+ on liquor/dinners. And those are only a few of the examples that have already been brought to the public's attention. You can read the lawsuit (published by KDH) for more examples.

We would also probably know more about his transgressions if Glenn didn't also have the authority to stop audits that would bring more of his violations to light. No one should be without any checks and balances. Private industry is very big on controls, while Glenn appears to be all about "being in control."

Maybe Glenn should "give it a whirl" in private industry and Lower could be his assistant. I'm sure that would be a short-lived company.


May 5, 2013

Well, with what is transpiring now, I personally feel that all of the hullabaloo regarding the up coming vote on the city charter, all 33 changes I think it is, the changes are misdirected. We should be voting on whether the Mayor, Mayor Pro Tem, and the city manager are right and the civilian hearing board are wrong. It all boils down to where you stand. Are you for the Mayor, Mayor Pro Tem, and the city manager who are of the understanding that the city manager has and is the sole authority or are you with the civilian hearing board who, as an outside entity, have the authority to 'over-rule' the city manager. That to me is what this is all about.

The mayor and mayor Pro Tem deem it most important to have the city manager, as the sole authority, in matters such as these. The civilian hearing board does not seem to favor this position. I seem to recall the civilian hearing board as stating, 'what are we hear for?'. If the city manager can, and does, only go with the recommendation of the civilian hearing board when it coincides with his directives, and I use the word 'directive' as being the operative word in this case, what is the use of having a 'civilian hearing board' at all. Let the city manager be the sole authoritarian person. But I disagree with the mayor and mayor Pro Tem in the powers of the 'manager' Has he not heard of a 'board of directors'? A manager should have someone to which he reports to, say the city council. I believe in this case that the city council should be the one to rule on such a disparity. There again I refer back to the city of Temple and their methods of handling such matters.

I feel the city is in error when they don't have a method of at least annually evaluating the employee and verbally going over that evaluation with the employee. Accordingly, I understand that Ms. Barbara Gonzales has been an employee of the city for 14 years and during that tenure she has not once had an employee appraisal and accordingly during that period Morrison, until now, states she has been, I'll say, a satisfactory employee. As I understand it, she is guilty of 3 infractions, interfered with a police investigation, violated a city mandated gag order, and lied to investigators. To what extent did she interfere with the police investigation, to what extent did she lie to investigators, and as for the third claim, I don't know how the city can claim she violated a city imposed gag order. Did she divulge any city secrets that would do harm to the city? I believe there has been another occasion of the city trying to impose a gag order and it cost the city around $750,000.00.

Gonzales filed a lawsuit in March against the city under the Texas Whistle blower Act, alleging that she was fired for reporting that Morrison had broken state and local finance laws. Sounds familiar doesn't it? If the city is now being sued, Morrison and Corbin, I feel, should not have participated, or been in attendance, in that hearing.
In as much, in my opinion, if the city wants to operate like a business, then they should start operating the city like a business.


I can agree with what you're saying, But also add,--- Ms. Gonzales is accused of interfering with a police investigation. There was according to court documents filing the whistle blowers case, an investigation going on. It would I would surely think, have been a criminal case since several thefts had been committed and admitted to.
However, considering all the different crimes, no one was arrested or lost their jobs. But Ms. Gonzales evidently received punishment for the crimes of the others involved in the investigation.

I think the best method to take since so many names other then Ms. Gonzales' appear on the whistle blowers court documents with accusations against them , with the city managers name being one .It would be best and in the interest of the tax payers for Morrison to not be involved in the decision any further on what is to be done with the Gonzales case.

In an article from last week in KDH, the city stated they will still negotiate to make a settlement. Why would this be done? If Gonzales is the guilty one as the city manager states.
If the case is settled out of court, that usually will show the guilty party.

This is what happened when Green was paid off, no one at the city wanted to go to court. They just withdrew $750,000 from the tax payers bank account.
Thinking they would go along with it. Or what they didn't know about wouldn't hurt them.
Ms. Gonzales isn't afraid to go to court, let her go and tell her story, all of it, to a jury of 12.

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