AMARILLO, TX- Just weeks after the City of Amarillo was given the green light to expand its red light camera program, there's now an apparent fallout between the City and a special advisory board appointed to look into the expansion project.
While we were busy questioning whether the cameras prevented accidents, we learned board members in charge of recommending locations to install new cameras were questioning the scope of their responsibilities.
A subcommittee of the Amarillo traffic commission known as a citizens advisory board was created to analyze data where red light cameras might be warranted.
"We have appointed 5 people who will study this," Mayor Paul Harpole said.
Today, the committee is down to four people. Board member Ken Graham just announced he's resigning. We wanted to find out why, but his number the city provided us with was not in service.
"I was not aware of Ken Graham's resignation coming that day and he did not give a reason and I'm not going to speculate on any of that," board member Dean Downey said.
Board member Craig Gualtiere also appears unhappy with his position. He told a local newspaper, "We're supposed to be looking at the total safety of intersections" and "I'm getting really tired of being forced into a box."
NewsChannel 10 later discovered the board had recently asked for support from city staff to enhance pedestrian and bicycle crossings at intersections they believed are dangerous. We don't know what happened with their request, but it appears there maybe was some tension between the city and committee.
When asked about the possible tension, Public Works Director Michael Rice had "no response."
Meanwhile, Communications Director Sonja Gross says there wasn't any tension, just a possible "misunderstanding" regarding the committee's purpose to debate on red light cameras.
If you're this latest news will result in removal of the cameras---not so fast!
The City just renewed its contract for another five years and state law requires every city using cameras to have a panel of at least four members to research red light cameras. If a member leaves, the city commission is responsible for appointing a new representative.