First responders claim councilman refuses to meet with them

Posted at 9:15 PM, Jan 09, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-02 17:38:11-05

An organization of first-responders in Killeen said it has a big problem - and it's with one of the city's councilmen.

The Killeen Professional Fire Fighters Association took to social media to air out that problem. The organization posted a letter that was written letter to Killeen city councilman Gary Johnson on their Facebook and Twitter.

Mark Clifford is the president of KPFFA, and he said they posted the letter to the Web because they felt it was the only way they could effectively reach Johnson.

"We've tried several times over the last year or so to contact Mr. Johnson about different things on the city council agenda," Mark Clifford, president of KPFFA said. "Each time we've been met with some kind of silence or non-reply on his part."

Johnson said he was in disbelief when he realized the organization wrote the letter.

"When I saw the letter, it kind of shook me for a minute," Johnson said. "I have no problem sitting back and listening to their concerns."

Clifford said the association is made up of 171 first-responders, and they have been trying to get Johnson to meet with their board. The councilman said he's more than willing to meet the organization association, but only on terms he said the KPFFA won't accept.

"I don't have any issues with the association," the councilman said. "I just feel more comfortable dealing with individuals - including individual firefighters and police officers."

Johnson said he is willing to do one-on-one meet and greets, but Clifford said things should be easier if Johnson meets with the board.

"It just makes things easier for him to hear from one person representing 171 people rather than hearing from 171 individual fire fighters," Clifford said. "Every other councilmen have been receptive, have taken the information, and wet with us - except for Gregory Johnson."

Regardless, the councilman attest that he is more than willing to meet individual firefighters.

"It's a two-way communication. There's no 'I' in team - it's 'we,'" Johnson said.

"At the end of the day, my job as a city council member is to understand their concerns and see how we can work together," he added.

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