A recent exchange between Killeen City Councilman Johnathan Okray and Killeen Mayor Dan Corbin has Okray claiming Corbin is “poison” to the “whole process.”
More than two hours into Tuesday night’s council workshop meeting, Okray asked that an addendum regarding the use of graywater to irrigate the golf course be “put into layman’s terms.”
“Some of this stuff I read, it’s like, ‘what in the world are you saying?’” Okray said during the meeting. “It’s just not clear. It’s like you’re trying to sell me a prime piece of property down in the Louisiana bayou.”
Corbin responded to Okray’s question saying, “I think it’s pretty clear; does anybody else have any comments?”
Scott Osburn, city attorney for planning, responded.
“Just from my perspective, the same type of language is actually contained in our wastewater contract,” he said.
He followed up with an explanation about the meanings of some addendum language.
Corbin interjected, telling the two “if y’all want to get together some time over the next week and explain that, I think that would be fine.”
Okray insisted his questions be answered at the meeting.
“Well, you’re entitled to your opinion and I am entitled to mine,” Corbin said. “I’m running the meeting, so that’s the way we are going to do it. One person’s got a question — you can take it up over the next week.”
The meetings are recorded and uploaded to the city’s website.
On Wednesday, Okray told the Herald that Corbin has “a lack of decorum, courtesy and anything that is conducive or productive to the deliberating body, such as the council.”
“The mayor will wax on about something we are talking about. Like (Tuesday night) we were talking about water; he waxes on,” Okray said. “He’s long-winded and can go and ask some questions, but when it comes to council members, we are either rushed or we can’t make a point.”
Okray said his understanding is that workshop meetings are the place to ask questions and get answers from city officials.
“That’s what a workshop is for, so that we can understand and not blindly go out there and say yes or no to anything,” he said. “If I have a question, I am the one voting on this. I have a right to know this.”
Okray said his objective for publicly reprimanding Corbin is to let the public know “what we (the council) contend with.”
“It should not be that way,” Okray said. “His task is to make sure everyone is staying on task. I have a right to ask questions.”
Okray said he believes Corbin is “overruling” council meetings.
This is the second time Okray has sent out a “public reprimand” of the mayor. In late July, Okray requested a council meeting be reviewed, claiming Corbin violated the rules of legislative deliberation.
Corbin said he has no comment regarding the issue.
Councilman Terry Clark said council members are elected by their constituents to ask questions.
“When council members are asking questions, they are for everyone who voted for them,” he said.
“I’ve watched some council members be shut down. The mayor moved the meeting forward before Councilman Okray got an answer. I think he should have had his question answered.”
Councilman Jose Segarra said he is content with the way council meetings are run.
“I think we all have a chance to give our opinions or express ourselves,” Segarra said. “But if no one else seems to agree or want to discuss, we move on.”
Segarra said council members aren’t always going to be heard on all of their opinions, but if multiple council members share similar opinions or want to continue a discussion about an issue, then conversation will ensue.
“(The council) needs that consensus or else there is one person with an opinion taking over,” he said.
“I do think that everyone has a right to their opinion, but we have to keep in mind that there are six other council members with opinions.”
Mayor Pro Tem Elizabeth Blackstone did not want to comment on the issue.
Other council members could not be reached for comment.