By Anthony Scott
Killeen Daily Herald
"Billy D," "Tori's mom," "A New Killeen" and "Enough Already!!!!"
These are just a few of the nearly one dozen aliases used to comment on recent City Council developments on the Killeen Daily Herald website, all of which are linked to an email account registered to Killeen City Councilwoman JoAnn Purser.
The comments criticize fellow council members, city staff and campaign on Purser's behalf.
Purser would not confirm she was writing all the posts, but did confirm it was her email address. When confronted about the comments Friday, Purser alleged six people have access to her account, including her son, daughter, a temporary worker, two secretaries and an information technology technician.
The email account is connected to Monday's article about a possible outside investigation into circumstances surrounding former City Manager Connie Green's buyout.
Below the article, "Pat," linked to Purser's email address, wrote in support of Purser as a candidate.
"I will vote for Purser in the May election," the post read. "I hope she wins."
If Purser was the person posting from the account, she could be violating state law.
The Texas Election Code prohibits candidates from misrepresenting their identity in campaign communication. The offense is a Class A misdemeanor.
Comments on the Herald website must be accompanied by an email address. A link is sent to the user's inbox to verify the identity. Unless deleted, record of those messages would be accessible to Purser.
Purser said in a Friday interview that she was surprised about some of the comments.
"The only comment I have at this point is I've got some staff that has a very strong opinion about me and that's the only response," Purser said. "I guess they don't want to see me hurt or twisted."
Purser did confirm she has used the account to post as "Tori's mom," "rangersmom" and "Billy D."
"I was aware of some of the statements," Purser said. "I do think some of these are kind of funny. I'm a little worried about the one (about Councilman Billy Workman). It was a comment that I made (verbally). I think they were just trying to defend me because of the recall petition."
Purser, along with the other six members of the City Council and Mayor Tim Hancock, are subjects of a recall petition circulated in response to the Green buyout.
Purser said she made a comment about Workman in her office, and someone with access to her account may have posted it.
"Workman wanted him to get more," reads a post from nickname "Enough Already!!!!!," in response to an article about Green's buyout and a news conference held by several council members in March.
"Ask him. Workman was against the $750,000 'cuz it was not enough," the post continued. "He ain't so innocent here. Rivera and Cole are the only ones saying it was too much."
Many of the posted comments are part of a noticeable uptick in an online discussion after the buyout of Green drew heated public response.
User "Enough already!!!!!" also lashed out after another comment criticized Purser under Monday's article regarding a possible outside investigation. "Please enlighten us 'little people' of Killeen," it reads. "Don't you think legal would have policies in place to prevent what you describe? Sounds like you really don't know how things are really done in the real world. I like Purser too at least she has more brass than many of them sitting there. She don't pick and choose like the other hypocrites. At least she's consistent."
In response to a March 29 article about the council's approval of Green's buyout, the user speaks about current Finance Director Barbara Gonzales and asserted there is some form of coverup at City Hall.
"Time to move on and any of (Green's) cronies that were part of the cover up better get ready for change," it read. "Speaking of cover up, why is the current finance director not even a CPA? Shouldn't she be one? And what about Cole? He is sure mad about something. I bet in a day or two he spits it out."
Purser's email is linked to alias "confused," which commented on an incident when Mayor Pro Tem Scott Cosper interrupted Purser in the middle of her answer during a news conference April 1.
"Cosper looked mad on TV," the post read. "He probably interrupted her. She voices her opinion in workshops and on TV. I have seen that. I think Cosper was just mad."
Further posts against the council were made under the name "Hypocrite," which alleged Hancock ignored wrongdoings of Green and is "ultimately responsible" for the "fiasco." Workman and Councilman Ernest Wilkerson were then alleged in the same post as "guilty" and that it wouldn't be a surprise if both pushed resident Jonathan Okray into starting a petition to recall all seven council members.
"A New Killeen" is also linked to Purser's account, which suggested the city is run as a "Mickey Mouse Club."
The alias also posted on an update about Public Works Director Jim Butler, 70, who announced his retirement recently.
"Let the cleansing begin," it read.
Online Editor Stephanie Ibarra contributed to this report.
Contact Anthony Scott at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7568. Follow him on Twitter at KDHcity.
Updated: Read all the comment posts linked to Purser's email at http://assets.kdhnews.com/3dIssues/special_editions/2011/issue1/pageflip.html