• December 27, 2014

Killeen municipal election field has interesting twist

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Posted: Sunday, February 9, 2014 4:30 am

With three weeks still remaining in the candidate filing period, the Killeen municipal election is shaping up to be an interesting one.

In the first two weeks, two candidates filed for the mayor’s spot being vacated by incumbent Dan Corbin, and six people filed for three at-large council seats.

What gives this early election field an interesting twist is that two of the candidates were recalled by voters in November 2011. On top of that, another of the candidates — incumbent Councilman Jonathan Okray — was responsible for the recall initiative that ultimately turned out all five council members on the ballot.

The two mayoral candidates each have a history of service to the city.

Both Scott Cosper and Richard “Dick” Young served three terms on the City Council between 2000 and 2006 and were part of a body that oversaw the opening of the city’s new airport and the establishment of the state veterans cemetery.

Cosper returned to the council in 2008 and was elected as the city’s mayor pro tem, a title he continued to hold after being re-elected in 2010. During his second stint on the council, Cosper was instrumental in the establishment of Texas A&M-Central Texas, as well as expanding and improving the city’s infrastructure.

In March 2011, Cosper was serving on the council that voted to authorize spending $750,000 to buy out the contract of then-City Manager Connie Green. It was a move that didn’t sit well with some residents and served as the impetus for Okray’s recall petition drive.

Also serving on that council was Juan Rivera, who voted against the Green contract buyout, but was recalled nevertheless later that year.

Now Rivera is trying to return to the council as well — running for an at-large council seat, one of which is held by Okray, who is seeking re-election to a second term.

And it could get even more interesting. Among those who have picked up a candidate filing packet is former Councilman Kenny Wells, another of the five council members recalled in November 2011.

As the campaign unfolds, it remains to be seen whether the recall becomes an election issue or if it remains the proverbial elephant in the room.

Moving forward, it would probably be in the best interest of candidates who were recalled to acknowledge they made some errors in judgment, profess their desire to be more responsive to the city’s residents and advocate transparency in matters involving the taxpayers’ money.

Beyond that, it is up to the voters to decide who they want in office — and whether the recall should even be a factor in the election.

Ultimately, the candidates’ experience, their positions on the issues and their commitment to serving the residents’ best interests should be the deciding factors at the ballot box.

Meanwhile, the filing period continues until Feb. 28. It will be interesting to see how the field shapes up over the next few weeks.

Once the ballot is set, it’s incumbent upon the candidates to make themselves available for debates, public forums and in-depth interviews. The Herald will do its part, offering a comprehensive online election package, publishing Q&As and providing video interviews with each candidate.

As the city’s newspaper of record, the Herald will cover public events at which the candidates appear to share their views on the issues.

In addition, the Herald will sponsor a debate featuring the Killeen mayoral and council candidates on April 7 at the Killeen Civic and Conference Center.

Granted, it’s still almost three months until the May election, but it appears we’re in for a very interesting ride.

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Welcome to the discussion.

3 comments:

  • Alvin posted at 1:23 pm on Mon, Feb 10, 2014.

    Alvin Posts: 253

    @Eliza, How transparent has the present mayor/city manager/city council been? I rest my case.

     
  • PlayFair posted at 12:34 am on Mon, Feb 10, 2014.

    PlayFair Posts: 10

    Eliza, I agree 100%. Furthermore, Cosper still claims the payment to Green was a good decision. Of course, he doesn't explain why it was a good decision. As for those who remain silent, they also remain complicit. So, Rivera, Cosper and Wells if he runs won't get my vote or the vote of anyone in my circle of influence. Also, consider their stand on recycling. Many places around the country half the size of Killeen reward their citizens for recycling. These people on the city council and the many appointed panel positions seem to be jumping at the opportunity to raise our solid waste fee. It makes one think perhaps they have a dog in the race. It's also very curious that many are land developers, home builders or real estate brokers and voting on zoning and area housing development projects. How is that even legal?

     
  • Eliza posted at 3:36 pm on Sun, Feb 9, 2014.

    Eliza Posts: 904

    @ Moving forward, it would probably be in the best interest of candidates who were recalled to acknowledge they made some errors in judgment, profess their desire to be more responsive to the city’s residents and advocate transparency in matters involving the taxpayers’ money.
    -------------------

    Yes it would be to their possible benefit as far as the future election, to mend the err of your ways
    (even if you were one of the council members who didn't vote for Green's $750,000 pay off). However.

    No one, none, have ever stepped forward from that recalled council, including the mayor, or even, any who didn't vote for the pay off, and gave the people an explanation of Why so much of their tax money was given for the council to be rid of Mr. Green. Even more money then Green supposedly stated he would settle for.

    Green at the time insinuated ,the council were holding illegal meetings as one of his complaints, the council stated they just couldn't work with Green any longer but didn't say why.
    It seemed to be a personal ,private, argument among the council and City Manager Green, But the tax payer was the one that was punished by being forced to pay out the $750,000. Which was paid and check given before the citizens even knew the amount the check was written for.
    Then when Jonathan Okray ( a private citizen at the time) was willing to argue for all tax paying citizens to find why so much of the tax payers money had been given away, when there was no reason given, He literately had to fight city hall at times.
    (Anyone can refresh any memory's by looking up all the news articles done by Antony Scott,the KDH reporter who followed this chaos against the tax payers and documented it very well)

    I'm sorry, but once my money has been taken from me in any form, tax money included, which is what happened when the huge pay off was given. I'm not going to be bimbo enough to want to be involved with the people who not only gave the money away ,but those who knew why it was given, But chose not to tell.
    In my mind,They were just as guilty as the ones who voted to give the money away.