Several people who worked with former Killeen City Manager and former Killeen Finance Director Connie Green had glowing remarks for the man they say had a positive impact on them and the city.
All of them said Thursday that they were either “hurt” or “upset” about the news of his passing.
Green died Dec. 29, 2021, at his home in Killeen.
“The sad thing is that he always loved Christmas — that was the best time of the year,” said Barbara Gonzales, who was hired by and worked for Green. “And he’s passed away around this time of the year, so my condolences (are) for him and his family.”
Gonzales worked in payroll and became Green’s chief accounting officer and eventually assistant finance director. After a stint as the finance director in Copperas Cove, Gonzales returned to be the general services director and finance director for Killeen while Green was city manager.
Green served as finance director for the city from 1990 to 2005 and as city manager from 2005 to 2011.
“I have a lot of respect for him,” Gonzales said of Green, adding that he had a positive impact on the city.
From a professional standpoint, Gonzales referred to him as a mentor.
When she began working for Green, she said she had recently attended the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor in Belton.
“I was influenced by him to go back and get my accounting degree — I took 30 hours in one year,” Gonzales said. “A lot of that was he was my mentor.”
Gonzales also credited Green for teaching her the right way to do things.
“He was the one that taught me to do things by the book,” she said. “He used to kind of give me a hard time about not being as flexible ... and I was always a black-or-white kind of person. I didn’t bend a whole lot. I never bent the rules, because I always felt like things needed to be done the right way.
“And I feel like I learned that from him.”
Maureen Jouett, a former councilwoman and former mayor of the city, served in an elected position for the bulk of Green’s time with the city, but she said Thursday that she had known Green well before his time with the city.
Jouett said she had known Green since the 1980s, when he would do audits for the soup kitchen where she volunteered. Since his time in the city, he has also done audits for her nonprofit organization, Bring Everyone in the Zone.
“I can’t say any more than he was a good man,” Jouett said.
One personal anecdote Jouett recalled has made her laugh over the years, and it stems from the first time she met Green when he did audits for the soup kitchen.
She explained that the soup kitchen had written 78 checks and as an auditor, Green was required to charge the soup kitchen for them.
“He had a couple gold rings on his finger, and I said, ‘With all that gold, you shouldn’t even be charging us,’” Jouett said laughing. “And he laughed.”
Jouett said she had spoken to Green shortly before Christmas this year and admitted that she was worried about him.
In her professional interactions with Green, Jouett said he always had an open-door policy. From the perspective of finance director for the city, she said he was fiscally conservative and responsible.
“What he would do is he would keep up with the rates that were going on, and if we could refinance at a lower rate, he would make that recommendation to the council for some of our bonds,” Jouett said.
Bell County Judge David Blackburn said it was sad news to hear of Green’s death.
Blackburn served as city manager in Killeen during a portion of Green’s tenure as finance director. Green also succeeded Blackburn as city manager when Blackburn took over the city’s manager’s post in Temple.
“I always found him to be kind, competent and considerate on a personal level. And he will be missed,” Blackburn said of Green.
Blackburn said Green had a positive impact on the city of Killeen.
“When I first arrived in Killeen, it was just immediately following Desert Storm, and Killeen was going through some really challenging financial times at that moment in its history,” Blackburn said. “And as the finance director, Connie helped navigate through those waters.”
During his tenure as city manager, Green navigated the city through the 2008 housing crisis. As finance director, Green guided the city through the Gulf War and the post-9/11 military deployments, when the city lost sizeable portions of its population.
When he was city manager, Blackburn said Green could expeditiously produce anything he was looking for, despite Blackburn remembering Green’s desk being full of papers.
Blackburn chuckled when he said he always had to shake his head and smile when he thought of Green’s desk.
“Everybody’s got a different system in terms of how they organize their work. I never figured out what his system was, but whatever it was, it worked for him,” Blackburn said.
Though all former employees or elected officials the Herald spoke with had positive things to say, it is evident his relationship with city leaders soured later in his tenure.
The relationship between Green and the city’s elected officials began to show cracks beginning in 2009, when a routine evaluation by the council took more than 2½ hours.
Two years later, Green left in a fiery resignation in which he said his work was unappreciated.
The city council voted 4-3 to buy out Green’s contract for the sum of $750,000 on April 3, 2011 — $200,000 more than his contract stipulated.
“I was asked, ‘Do you want to remain the city manager?’” Green said in an interview with the Herald on April 28, 2011. “My response was, ‘I cannot work where I’m not wanted. I would like to know if the council would like for me to remain.’”
The aftermath of the contract buyout led to a November 2011 recall election, which saw five of the City Council’s seven members recalled in a movement spearheaded by Jonathan Okray.
The following year, Green opened his doors as a private CPA, a Killeen business he operated until his death.
Funeral services for Green are pending with Branford Dawson Funeral Home in Temple.