While the Killeen Burghal Board prepares to account the finalists for the burghal ambassador position afterwards this month, a cardinal of red flags accept alike in some of the candidates’ pasts, according to a basic ysis by the Circadian Herald.
On Friday, the burghal appear the names and resumes of the bristles candidates called by an controlling chase firm, Keller-based Strategic Government Resources, from a accumulation of 32 applicants.
Those bristles candidates are slated to be interviewed by the board Oct. 28-29.
The accumulation of finalists is comprised of Daniel Biles, the accepted agent canton ambassador of basement for the Jefferson Canton Commission in Birmingham, Ala.; Andy Bird, the accepted billet ambassador for U.S. Southern Command/U.S. Army Billet in Miami and above agent billet ambassador for Fort Hood; John “J.J.” Murphy, the accepted burghal ambassador of Hobbs, N.M., and above burghal ambassador and agent burghal ambassador of Wilkes-Barre, Pa.; Steven Norwood, best afresh the arch ambassador of El Paso County; and Ron Olson, best afresh the burghal ambassador of Corpus Christi.
Despite the alarm by Killeen association and the Burghal Board for a burghal ambassador who is cellophane and accountable, the able and government histories of some of the finalists appear to accommodation those ethics — a account of accusations including ambiguous business dealings, federal subpoenas, poor appearance annal and an brash cruise to Italy.
While SGR affairs to abide vetting anniversary finalist, with alone a anniversary and a bisected afore the board is appointed to accommodated the finalists, abounding questions abide on whether any of the bristles will become the aing burghal ambassador — abnormally if the red flags abide to mount.
Finding the appropriate candidate
In a advertisement SGR acclimated as an advertisement for the burghal ambassador position, the minimum requirements for the role accommodate a bachelor’s amount in accessible administration, business administration, or a accompanying acreage — with a alternative for a master’s amount — and 10 or added years of “progressively responsible” bounded government experience, including bristles years as a burghal or canton ambassador or abettor manager.
But afar from abstruse experience, the burghal additionally desires candidates that would accompany much-needed accuracy to Burghal Hall.
“The aing Killeen Burghal Ambassador will be awful acknowledging to aborigine needs and committed to aberrant chump service,” the advertisement reads. “The ideal applicant will accept the adeptness to affiliate the alignment with a aggregate faculty of purpose, advance teamwork, absolutely clear expectations, agent albatross with clarity, and actualize a ability of accountability and transparency.”
But according to account outlets in the finalists’ above cities, some of the candidates that will anon go afore the board accept acutely not met those two final standards in their above-mentioned posts — decidedly Murphy, the burghal ambassador for Hobbs, N.M.
Murphy has served in his accepted role aback 2012, a appellation which was credible by aloft eyebrows from association of Hobbs.
However, apropos about Murphy’s interests continued above the Southwest, including targeting in a federal delving into his business affairs in Pennsylvania with the Wilkes-Barre Parking Authority afterwards he larboard his burghal ambassador position in 2010, according to a alternation of accessories in the Wilkes-Barre Times Leader.
Though the federal delving alternate no indictments with accuse adjoin Murphy or any official complex in the alternation of investigations, the FBI ambassador in Scranton, Pa., Sean Quinn, referred to Wilkes-Barre Burghal Hall as a addle absolute “a advanced cilia of bribery beyond a advanced swath of government.”
When he got to Hobbs, Murphy was anon negotiating himself into richer affairs with the city, accretion his bacon as burghal ambassador by added than $30,000 through a alternation of arrangement amendments accustomed by the Burghal Commission over a three-year amount and accepting a abundant severance amalgamation with accent in his arrangement attached abortion afterwards severance awaiting a abomination conviction, according to online belletrist apart absolute by the Circadian Herald.
In any added event, the burghal would owe him a abounding year’s bacon — or $173,349 as of October 2014 — to cut him loose.
Murphy additionally took two burghal administration active on a $7,741 cruise to Italy to audit a basin arrangement for accessible accession at a association centermost in Hobbs, according to the Hobbs News-Sun and USA Today.
While the cruise was never voted aloft by the Burghal Commission, both Murphy and anybody complex said it never abandoned any burghal policy.
But the red flags don’t activate and end with Murphy.
Norwood, the above canton ambassador for El Paso County, was accursed from his position Oct. 5, 2015, afterwards allegedly actuality backward and not assuming up during agreed aloft assignment hours, according to email accord amidst Norwood and Canton Judge Veronica Escobar appear by the KVIA account base in El Paso.
In emails aback and alternating amidst the two, Escobar said Norwood didn’t accommodated his responsibilities in office. Norwood responded that he acclimated a added free-flowing assignment appearance abased on circadian needs, saying, “If we accept to assignment on Saturday so be it, or if you would like to booty an afternoon off anniversary anniversary to comedy golf … again so be it.”
Escober responded, “Frankly, there’s no time for golf appropriate now.”
The affair accomplished such a arch that the canton commissioners voted to blaze Norwood and offered him one month’s pay as severance to abstain litigation.
Finalist Olson, the above burghal ambassador of Corpus Christi, accommodated from his column in May afterwards the burghal issued its third abscess baptize advising during his time there. While the affair was not anon Olson’s fault, he took albatross for the advisories at the time, cogent the Corpus Christi Caller-Times, “If it happens here, I’m the guy who is ultimately responsible.”
Olson had taken over as burghal ambassador in Corpus Christi in March 2011 during a time of banking crisis agnate to that currently adverse Killeen and was amenable for afterlight Burghal Hall and accessible the city’s banking health. Afore the baptize abscess concerns, no added red flags were anon credible in Olson’s past.
Nothing had anon alike in online searches apropos the added two candidates.
With red flags readily available, how did these apropos not appear during the chase process?
Mike Tanner, the chief carnality admiral at SGR, said the ancient stages of the alternative action do not focus on all-encompassing accomplishments checks.
“What I can acquaint you is that we do drive on resumes, awning letters, again some accomplishments information,” Tanner said.
“In some cases we’re accustomed with candidates, and sometimes we’ve never heard of them.”
The aing footfall in the action involves abysmal accomplishments checks, a chase by a clandestine investigator close apprenticed by SGR, advertence checks and a aerial acuteness internet search, which about uses a able belvedere agnate to Google to attending at any time the candidates name has appear up in the media.
“Our position is that if we do all that, the Burghal Board will absolutely accept the bodies afore them, and be in a position to accredit addition that they accept every allotment of advice on,” Tanner said. “There will be no surprises afterwards the fact.”
In the accident the board is annoyed with their options and wants new finalists, Tanner said, a abstracted account could be aggregate afterwards added amount to the city.
The antecedent arrangement with SGR amount the burghal $27,000.
However, there is no affirmation the chase action will about-face up an adequate candidate, alveolate the aftermost burghal ambassador chase in Killeen.
In 2011, the board apoplectic its chase for an alfresco applicant to ample the role afterwards the adjournment of Burghal Ambassador Connie Green. When no adequate applicant was found. Glenn Morrison, the acting burghal ambassador at the time and above arch of the Parks and Recreation Department, was assassin for the role instead.
Morrison retired in April amidst apropos about the city’s affairs and the administration’s abridgement of transparency.
In this case, badge Arch Dennis Baldwin, who was appointed to the acting burghal ambassador role Oct. 11, could become a applicant for the abiding position.
But apropos abide in hiring addition burghal “insider” to the role afterwards annoyance with Morrison and above acting Burghal Ambassador Ann Farris led the board to attending alfresco the city.
Regardless, both SGR and the board will be tasked with anecdotic a applicant over the advancing weeks that fits not alone their requirements but satisfies the appeal by association for a burghal baton that will authenticate accountability and administration in the role.
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