By Holly Wise
Killeen Daily Herald
The Killeen City Council isn't moving fast enough to consider a special recall election, according to one Killeen resident who announced Friday he's collecting money to hire an attorney to speed up the process.
Jonathan Okray, who started the process to recall the entire Killeen City Council in April, is not satisfied with the city's response in ordering a special recall election, which would potentially finalize the removal of the council members.
"They want to put (the business of the city ) on the back burner," he said Friday. "They want us to forget about it; we're not going to forget about it. We will pursue the matter in court."
The Killeen Tax Payers for Responsible and Accountable Governance Legal Fund, set up by Okray and a few supporters, has garnered $450 so far.
City Attorney Kathy Davis said the council plans to consider the recall election at its June 14 meeting.
Okray wants to be prepared for the council's decision.
"Instead of being reactive as our city government is, we're going to be proactive to anticipate June 14," he said.
Okray said the money will be used for legal counsel to request from a district judge a special recall election date if the City Council doesn't do it.
"If the council won't do their job, we'll do it for them," he said.
The question of whether a resident can request a district judge to order a special recall election remained unanswered Tuesday after multiple state agencies were contacted by the Killeen Daily Herald.
According to the city charter, a recall election must be held 30 to 60 days after the recall petitions have been verified, but state law trumps the city's.
The city's official position is that state law binds Killeen to hold the election Nov. 8, the state's next authorized date - a position backed up by the Texas Secretary of State's Office.
The Killeen city charter dictates that if the council fails or refuses to order a recall election, a district judge would order it.
Okray's angst with the city started after he submitted petitions to recall every Killeen council member. He turned in the signature-laden petitions on May 3 and calls the city government "unresponsive" for letting a month and a half go by before addressing the recall election date.
"I strongly believe in the rule of law, but the council has a different opinion and they've been dragging their feet on that for a month and a half," he said.
Okray's historic petition drive began eight days after the council voted on March 29 to buy out former City Manager Connie Green for $750,000 - $200,000 more than his contract stipulated.
Okray's actions against the council do not belie anger toward the city government.
"I'm not upset," Okray said Tuesday. "I'm just determined to hold people accountable."
Contact Holly Wise at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7555.