There was a conspicuous absence on the dais Tuesday night as Kilgore City Council members and staffers paid tribute to one of their longtime colleagues.
Services are scheduled this afternoon for 80-year-old Kilgore native Neil Barr, who served on the council in Place 3 since 2010. In time, Kilgore Mayor Ronnie Spradlin and the three remaining council members – Mayor Pro Tem Harvey McClendon, Victor Boyd and Merlyn Holmes – are tasked with appointing Barr’s successor.
During Tuesday’s regularly-scheduled council meeting, Spradlin declared today – June 13, Barr’s birthday – as ‘Neil Barr Day’ in the City of Kilgore. City staffers wore black ribbons in honor of the late council member.
Barr joined Holmes and Boyd at the center podium at City Hall May 22 to take their most recent oath of office from Kilgore City Clerk Deborah Dane. All three were unopposed in the Spring 2018 election cycle.
City officials haven’t yet detailed any specific plans to fill the vacancy on the council, a process guided by Kilgore’s home rule charter.
“We are going to take some time and mourn before we talk a whole lot about that,” Kilgore City Manager Josh Selleck said Tuesday morning.
Rader Funeral Home is hosting a ‘Celebration of Life’ for Barr at 2 p.m. today in the chapel at 401 N. Martin St. Family members will welcome visitors beginning at 1 p.m.
The First Christian Church deacon died at his home Friday, June 8. Learn more about the Kilgore High School and Kilgore College alumnus on Page 4.
Article II of the City of Kilgore’s home rule charter details “The City Council” and, in Section 5, addresses “vacancies in council.”
By those guidelines, “A vacancy in the office of mayor or council member shall be filled by a qualified person to serve until the next regular election, by a majority vote of the remaining members of the council.”
Section 2 describes the necessary qualifications for a person to join the council as an elected official. Council members serve two-year terms.
“The mayor and each of the four council members shall be a citizen of The United States of America and a qualified voter of the State of Texas; shall have resided for at least 12 months next preceding the election within the corporate limits of the city or for 12 months within territory which has been annexed by the city; shall be at least 21 years of age; shall be a qualified voter of Kilgore, Texas…”
Memorial contributions in Barr’s name can be made to Kilgore Police Department or Kilgore Fire Department via Kilgore City Hall, 815 N. Kilgore St.
“It’s just been touching hearing how many people knew and loved Mr. Barr,” Selleck said. “It’s hard watching all of our friends, our organizations in our community mourn as they lose somebody as special as he was.
“Everyone has had some funny story about something he did or said that lightened up, usually, difficult situations. He was just that kind of guy I think all of us wish we could be more like.”