Killeen Mayor Dan Corbin will pass the gavel to Mayor-elect Scott Cosper on Tuesday.
Corbin was elected to the post in May 2012, following a November 2011 recall that left the city without a quorum for nearly six months. Corbin, an attorney, did not seek re-election to the part-time mayor’s position in the May 10 election.
To sum up his tenure as mayor, Corbin looked back on training a new council, making changes to the city charter, addressing water issues and the city’s appearance.
“The initial part (as mayor) was getting the council trained,” he said. “(During) workshop sessions, two or three times a week for three or four hours, the council was briefed on all facets of city government. They worked very diligently because they didn’t have very much experience. They really got to know the city well.”
The council also made a few changes to the city charter in 2013, moving the internal auditor under the council, rather than under the city manager, and recall requirements were amended.
Toward the middle of Corbin’s tenure as mayor, the council approved the construction of a water treatment plant on Stillhouse Hollow Lake and approved a water-re-use agreement with Bell County Water Control and Improvement District No. 1.
“One of the other things I’m real proud of that we did was to give the go-ahead for the homeless shelter,” Corbin said. “That’s something the city has needed for a long, long time.”
‘It spoke volumes’
Corbin said of his time as mayor, working with the council proved to be the most rewarding.
“These people spent a massive amount of time preparing and studying their packets, trying to do the right thing,” he said. “One of the very first meetings we had on Fort Hood, shortly after the council was sworn in ... our entire council showed up for that. That’s indicative of the interest they’ve had in doing their jobs. That’s probably the thing that made me feel the best during the whole time I was mayor.”
Corbin said the council’s nod to approve additional funding for the homeless shelter was “very significant,” along with the body’s approval of a $20 million bond package for park improvements and the widening of Trimmier Road.
“I was really proud of the unanimous vote of the council in doing that,” he said. “I thought that was a significant statement that they were really interested in improving the quality of life in our community. I think it spoke volumes.”
With the mayoral badge comes challenges, too.
Corbin said one of the most challenging aspects of holding the post was being certain the council is presented with all the necessary facts to make a decision.
“Good decisions require finding out all the facts...,” he said. “There’s always a question of whether you’ve got all of the information that is needed to make the right decision. It’s something that I and the staff have always struggled with.”
Since May 2012, several events sent shock waves through the community.
On July 14, 2013, Killeen police officer Robert “Bobby” Hornsby died from gunshot wounds he received during a SWAT standoff at an apartment complex in Killeen — the first Killeen Police Department officer to be killed in the line of duty in nearly a century.
The Killeen Police Department lost its second officer less than a year later when Detective Charles “Chuck” Dinwiddie, an 18-year veteran of the department, was shot in an shootout May 9 while the Tactical Response Unit was executing a search warrant. He died May 11.
On April 2, Fort Hood experienced its second deadly shooting in less than five years when Spc. Ivan A. Lopez opened fire, killing three soldiers and wounding 16 before taking his own life.
When tragedy struck, the community often turned to its leader, putting Corbin in the spotlight as people looked to him for reassurance.
“I’ve prayed to the Lord to give me the strength to find the words because sometimes, you just don’t know what to say,” Corbin said. “I thank God that he’s given me the right words so I could represent the city, whether it’s in an interview with CNN or talking to a wife who lost their police officer husband. It’s difficult, but I feel like the Lord has helped me in that enormously.”
Once Corbin passes the gavel, he plans to travel, but don’t count him out just yet on the state or federal realm.
“I wasn’t planning on running for mayor,” he said. “I have no plans to run for anything, but I don’t know what opportunities will present themselves in the future. I have no political plans at this time, but I don’t know what the Lord has in store for me. If it’s something I feel like I can do, I may do it.”