By Holly Wise
Killeen Daily Herald
Killeen residents will have an opportunity to address the City Council Monday during a town hall-style meeting.
The meeting comes 32 days after former City Manager Connie Green was reportedly on leave following heated discussions in two executive sessions.
Six days later, Green was bought out of his contract for $750,000, approved by a 4-3 council vote.
The town hall meeting will start at 6 p.m. Monday at the Killeen Civic and Conference Center at 3601 South W.S. Young Drive.
The public outcry following the buyout decision has been loud and clear, evidenced by the number of signatures on the recall petitions for every council member and the mayor started by Killeen resident Jonathan Okray.
The recall petition drive is the first in Killeen's 129-year history. Members of a traditionally sluggish voting public, armed with voter registration cards, are clamoring at the Killeen Community Center to add their signatures to the mix.
For the first time Monday, they will have the opportunity to publicly address the council.
"A lot of people are concerned," Killeen resident Hester Brown said Friday as she stood in line at the Community Center waiting to sign the petitions. "Why do you have to pay someone to leave office? As taxpayers, what are we going to have to pay extra to make up for the $750,000 for Connie Green?"
Brown said she plans on attending Monday's town hall and might bring her questions to the council.
Killeen resident Kathy Perrin said she will be at the meeting.
"I don't think we're tired of listening yet," she said. "I think it's about time these council members stand up and stop acting like babies."
Okray said he will try to take his petition tables to the conference center Monday night to be available to residents who are not pleased with the answers they receive.
"You go and hear what council members have to say and if you're not satisfied with the answers or explanations they give, you come out and register your opinion whether you agree with the council members or you disagree," he said.
"Or you can go back home and live with the status quo."
Okray said he will leave the questioning to the residents who plan on attending the meeting.
"I'm pretty sure (the council members are) going to have their hands full," he said. "The three-minute rule may not apply."
Okray praised members for recognizing that the council chambers aren't big enough to hold the number of people who plan to attend.
Signatures needed in Killeen recall effort
A resident-led effort to recall all seven Killeen City Council members has until May 4 to collect the required 1,050 signatures from registered voters. The effort to recall the mayor has a May 11 deadline.
As of Saturday evening, the following number of signatures had been collected:
Larry Cole: 1,126
Scott Cosper: 1,218
Tim Hancock: 753
JoAnn Purser: 1,201
Juan Rivera: 1,112
Kenny Wells: 1,150
Ernest Wilkerson: 1,229
Billy Workman: 1,062
Petitions can be signed at 6 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays and from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturdays at the Killeen Community Center, 2201 E. Veterans Memorial Blvd.
Sequence of events surrounding ex-city manager's buyout
March 23: Killeen Mayor Timothy Hancock announced City Manager Connie Green was on leave from the city, and that negotiations for his departure were being conducted.
March 25: The Daily Herald reported Green was likely to receive at least $400,000 in a severance package.
March 25: Assistant City Manager Glenn Morrison delivered a buyout offer to Green's home.
March 29: The City Council voted 4-3 to approve Green's $750,000 buyout.
April 1: A few council members held a press conference on the steps of City Hall.
April 3: The Daily Herald reported that former city employees alleging fraud in the EMS billing department could have been a contributing factor to Green's departure.
April 5: Jonathan Okray started a recall petition drive for every member of the council. A total of 850 signatures were garnered on the first day of signing.
April 7: Councilman Juan Rivera held a press conference at his office.
April 12: The council voted to shut down talk of an outside investigation; Mayor Timothy Hancock was the tie-breaking vote to stop the discussion.
April 12: Okray picked up paperwork to begin a recall petition for Hancock.
April 19: The council revisited the idea of an outside investigation, but put it off a decision, instead opting for a town hall meeting.
April 20: Councilman Ernest Wilkerson alleged racial bias as a contributing factor in Green's departure.
April 21: Councilman Billy Workman alleged that Councilman Larry Cole is racially biased.
- Herald staff reports