The search for a new presiding municipal judge yielded 25 applicants since the city began advertising for the position last month, according to Killeen’s assistant city manager for internal services.
The city will accept applications through Friday.
“There have been a really nice variety of strong candidates,” Ann Farris told the council. “When you begin interviewing for this position, I think you will be pleased and I think you will be hard-pressed to find the person who can serve you best.”
According to the city’s charter, the council holds the authority to hire the city judge. The quest to hire a new presiding municipal judge came following Judge William Gibson’s announcement that he will retire next month when his tenure expires.
Gibson began serving as interim judge in June 2009 when former judge Barbara Weaver announced her retirement.
He was later appointed to the position by the council in December 2009.
In a November special meeting, the council elected to allow city staff to perform the logistics of seeking a new judge, rather than hiring an outside agency to sift through applications.
City staff, Gibson and the council will be involved in the interview process to determine which candidate is best suited for the bench.
Councilman Jared Foster said he would like to see the interview process driven by city staff since they are more knowledgeable of the position.
“I appreciate the way the charter places the judge underneath the council,” he said. “When we actually move into an interview phase, I would like to see that be led by city staff because I’m not sure that I know how to look for a candidate for city judge.”
Foster said he also would like to see the entire council present during the interview process.
Councilman Jose Segarra said he doesn’t think having the entire council present is necessary.
“I think they (city staff) have more experience than I would ever have,” he said. “I think with the knowledge they have we should trust them.”
Councilman Steve Harris agreed with Segarra that it should be left up to each council member’s discretion if they choose to join the panel in interviewing.
Councilmen Wayne Gilmore and Jonathan Okray said they would like to see the entire council available for the process.
“As a council, that’s our responsibility we have,” Okray said.
The council came to a consensus, agreeing to interview six to 10 of the top candidates and then proceed with a second round of interviews.
The interviewing process will begin Jan. 6.