KILLEEN, Texas — A unanimous vote by the City Council in Killeen puts the fate of some members in the hands of voters come May.
Voters will now decide whether or not to change the council's charter in a way that could affect future elections.
”The provision that we added would make it so that anybody who is on the council, or the mayor if they decide to run for a different position, would have to run immediately. As soon as the file for that new position,” said Melissa Brown, Killeen City Council Member at Large.
Right now, council members have to resign 40 prior to the election but this change would force them to step down immediately upon filing as a candidate; something current council members say should already be in place.
”Instead of concentrating on their current job, they tend to concentrate on campaigning for that new position from the dais. Which, gives them an unfair advantage over their opponent.” said Brown.
Not everyone agrees that the change is a good idea.
Killeen’s current mayor, Jose Segarra, said he shouldn’t be forced to resign in the first place.
”I would just throw all of that because, even with our current charter with the 40 days out, I think that that is unfair too. If you are going to go up against me and you are a council member, then you’re going to have to step down. While I'm still there in front of the cameras, engaging my people, getting out into the community,” said Segarra.
Mayor Segarra also said it doesn't make sense when members can run for outside office while sitting on the council.
”We’ve had council members who ran for Justice of the Peace. We’ve also had out passed Mayor who ran for state rep. And he filed and everything and he was still on the council.” said Mayor Segarra.
Segarra has reached his term limit but he did express his concerns to the council.
”I tried to make that point last night but I don’t think I changed anybody’s mind.” said Segarra.
The council voted unanimously to add the change to the ballot and whether or the change is made, will be up to voters when they hit the ballot box in May.