By Anthony Scott
Killeen Daily Herald
Killeen District 2 Councilman Juan Rivera called a news conference Thursday afternoon at his Trimmier Road office to speak out about the recent $750,000 buyout of former City Manager Connie Green.
The conference came just hours before the first recall petition signing Thursday night at the Killeen Community Center.
"(Citizens) didn't know I voted against the ($750,000) because No. 1, it was not according to the contract agreement we had with Mr. Connie Green," Rivera said.
Rivera said the buyout should have been for $555,000 in accordance with Green's contract, which stipulated he be given two years of salary, vacation and sick leave. Green's salary was about $190,000 at the time of his departure from his position.
"You call it whatever you want; he got fired in my book and that's why I voted against it," Rivera said. "If we have a city employee or any director who committed any offense, the first thing I expect is them to put them on some kind of probation."
Without naming names, Rivera said that one of the two other council members who voted against the buyout agreement was in favor of giving Green more than the $750,000 agreed upon. Councilmen Larry Cole and Billy Workman also voted against the buyout.
"Even if we would have given $555,000 to the man, I would have voted against it," he said. "I didn't have a reason at that point to vote for a buyout."
Had the council not reached the agreement with Green to bind both parties to not pursue litigation, Rivera said Green could have sued the city.
"They were paying $750,000 in order to reach a happy agreement between the City Council and Mr. Green," he said. "Well guess what, how can you sue me if I go according to the agreement? You tell me how."
Rivera said conflict between the council and Green started when people emailed the council in regard to EMS billing department complaints, including potential fraud in the billing department and employee issues.
"The first thing I did was I went and emailed Mr. Green," he said. "Mr. Green told me there was an investigation."
Rivera said he wanted to wait and let the city conduct an internal investigation in regard to the EMS Billing Department. Others, such as Cole, have indicated that an outside investigation may be needed to keep the results honest.
Green, 49, became the city manager in 2005 after former City Manager David Blackburn left to work the same position in Temple. In 1990, Green started with the city as finance director and was promoted to assistant city manager in 2000.
Assistant City Manager Glenn Morrison is acting as interim city manager.
Contact Anthony Scott at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7568. Follow him on Twitter at KDHcity.