Residents and the Killeen City Council will speak today during the first of four public hearings this month on proposed amendments to the city’s charter.
The council has until Feb. 12 to finalize a ballot of charter amendments for approval by the U.S. Department of Justice, and all changes must be approved by voters during the May charter election.
All of the proposed deletions, additions and revisions to the city charter can be found on the so-called “red-line copy” of the charter, which is posted on the city’s website, www.killeentexas.gov.
The red-line copy is the product of three months of discussions among council members over the future of the city’s government; however, many issues — considered by council but not on the list — still have a chance of making the election.
Among the more controversial provisions not yet on the ballot are extending term lengths for council members from two to three years and returning to citywide voting for all council positions, which the city maintained until the 2005 charter election.
Mayor Dan Corbin said today’s meeting will be a chance for the council to hear, for the first time, the public’s views on the proposed and unproposed changes.
“This is our opportunity to listen and hopefully inform citizens of what we have proposed for the charter election,” Corbin said.
“I’d like to see 100 people show up, spend three minutes each and last until midnight.”
Corbin said that since the charter review began in October, voters had approached him informally to suggest amendments they would like to see on the ballot, including extending term lengths and eliminating single-member districts.
As it is currently written, the charter mandates that voters elect the mayor and at-large council members during even-numbered years and district council members during odd-numbered years.
Corbin said several voters have complained that they were not able to participate in odd-year elections when their district seat was uncontested.
Council members also will have a chance to bring back their minority proposals — those proposals that did not garner the consensus of the council during the initial discussions.
After the four public hearings, the council will approve the final ballot of amendments to the charter through a council vote.
“I don’t think that our vote should be significant,” Corbin said. “What the people want should be significant.”
Personnel Hearing Board
During a council workshop, scheduled to follow the public hearing on the charter, the city council will consider appointments to the Civilian Employee Review Board, a committee of noncivil service employees who hear appeals filed by city employees.
The board is expected to meet regarding the appeals of two former city employees — former Killeen Finance Director Barbara Gonzales and former Fleet Services Technician John Acker — who were both fired Dec. 12.
In 2010, the employee review board was expanded from three to five members; however two of the seats are currently vacant, after the death of Lois Anderson in July 2011 and the recent resignation of Leonard Gulig.
The volunteer positions are appointed through an application process reviewed by the council and candidates cannot be related to any city employee.
If you go
The Killeen City Council workshop and public hearing on the city charter will be held at 5 p.m. at the Utility Collections Building at 210 W. Avenue C.