A Wednesday evening Facebook post by Killeen Mayor Dan Corbin caused dissension Thursday among community leaders questioning what role social media should play in city politics.
The Killeen Personnel Hearing Board met Wednesday to hear nearly six hours of testimony from five witnesses regarding the December termination of finance director Barbara Gonzales.
Corbin’s Facebook post called the hearing an “embarrassment,” and said it “seemed some of the board members were biased.”
“Unfortunately, members of the board were not able to understand the facts and basically asked argumentative questions and
generally wasted the time of everyone,” Corbin’s Facebook post said.
Board members must determine whether Gonzales was treated unfairly when she was fired by Killeen City Manager Glenn Morrison on Dec. 12 after a two-month investigation of the city’s fleet services division. Gonzales supervised the fleet services director, who resigned in December.
By Thursday morning, followers of Corbin’s Facebook page were posting comments defending the board members.
Among them was former Mayor Raúl Villaronga, who wrote, “I commend (the hearing board) for their patience and persistence.”
Personnel board member Rosa Hereford said she was disappointed when a friend called to read her the mayor’s comments, mostly because she feared it would interfere with the board’s decision.
“He had the right to make comments but I think he was premature; he interjected himself into the process,” Hereford said. “If we had already ruled, then he could have commented all he wants.”
Hereford, who was the first woman to be elected to the Killeen City Council, said she did not have a Facebook page.
“With social media, things can be misconstrued,” Hereford said.
Corbin defended himself Thursday, saying Facebook is a good tool for communicating with his constituents.
“I think there are many citizens who are interested in knowing what their elected officials think and why they think what they do,” Corbin said. “That’s a good thing.”
Contact Brandon Janes at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7552