Killeen council to move on replacement

Following the death of longtime Killeen City Councilmember Jim Kilpatrick on Jan. 5, the council is preparing to move forward to find his successor.

Mayor Jose Segarra said on Monday that the council will likely discuss the appointment of Kilpatrick’s replacement at its Jan. 19 workshop, rather than at Tuesday’s meeting.

The procedure will begin with an application process, and in order for a person to qualify, he or she must live in District 3, Kilpatrick’s district.

“Once we get the applications, the council looks at them, discusses them and votes on them,” Segarra said, adding that four votes will be needed to approve a replacement.

Segarra said that if there is a council vacancy more than 90 days before an election, as is the presently the case, the council can appoint someone.

However, if the vacancy occurs within 90 days, the council would simply wait for the election to take place.

The term of the appointment would last up to the election, Segarra added, and if that same person wanted to continue serving, they would have to formally file and campaign in the May 1 election.

The charter language reads as follows;

“A vacancy in the council of the City of Killeen, except the office of mayor, shall be filled by a majority vote of the remaining members of the council, by the selecting of a person possessing all the qualifications prescribed by Section 23 of this Article, and who shall be a bona fide resident of the district in which the vacancy occurs; unless the vacancy in office is that of a councilmember at large, in which case the person selected to fill the vacancy shall be a bona fide resident of the City of Killeen without regard to the district in which he resides,” according to the City of Killeen Code of Ordinances. “However, if the vacancy occurs within 90 days before a regular municipal election, the vacancy is not required to be filled.”

Kilpatrick, 74 at the time of his death, was elected to represent District 3 on council May 9, 2015, and reelected in 2017 and 2019. He also served as Mayor Pro Tem from 2017 to 2019 according to a news release from the city. He was also president of the Killeen Economic Development Corporation board of directors, serving as a council representative.

Born and raised in Arkansas, the son of a lumber mill worker and grandson of a sharecropper on a cotton farm, Kilpatrick spent 20 years in the Army, including service in Vietnam, Kilpatrick retired as a major in January 1986 from Fort Hood.

Kilpatrick’s wife of 37 years, Judy, died on Dec. 15 of heart failure. The couple had five children, six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Tuesday’s council meeting will be at 5 p.m. in the council chambers in City Hall, 101 N. College St., Killeen.

For those unable to attend the meeting in person, it will be web streamed live and archived for playback on the city’s website, KilleenTexas.gov. It will also be broadcast live on Spectrum Cable Channel 10.

swilson@kdhnews.com | 254-501-7463

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