Newly elected City Council members making big decisions

Newly elected City Council members making big decisions

Amarillo, TX - After City Council members asked for the resignation of the City Manager and 5 members of the Amarillo Economic Development board, a question was raised as to how the process worked.

Within hours of swearing in the newest City Council member, Mark Nair, a decision was made by the council to ask for these resignations.

Along with the AEDC and City Manager Jarrett Atkinson's requested resignations, the Deputy City Manager, Vicki Covey, was also asked to resign, which was already received.

The three new members say all requests were made based on mismangement of departments, from city funding to animal control.

"Well, it goes all the way back to hiring airport advisory guys that were under investigation to traffic guys that were under investigation, "Randy Burkett, City Councilman, Place 3, said. " It just kind of multipled from that. You know, the problem with our streets, we can't seem to get that right. Ans then the water debacle that hit was kind of the final straw for us."

Place 1 Councilman, Elisha Demerson agrees and said the city needs transparency.

"There's a call fro a greater degree of accountability and so you are going to see times where we have, as you probably know by now, we want to have a discussion with our city manager and talk about statuses of various things."

He said the public can expect to see a more active city council that promotes honest and hopes to get public input.

Now, some are left asking how the City Council has the authority to ask city employees to turn over their jobs.

According to the City Attorney, Marcus Norris, the City Council has every right.

"Under our city charter, we have a Council Manager form of government. The City Council is elected by the people and the council then hires or dismisses a City Manager who is the professional manager who will run the city government day to day. So the council sets policy, sets the directions and the city manager and the staff carry out that direction."

This means the City Manager works directly for the City Council.

The Council has the same authority over all city boards, such as the AEDC.

Norris adds next Tuesday's city council meeting will discuss the employment or dismissal of the 6 positions. He said the decisions can be held by the city council in a closed session unless Atkinson or the others being asked to resign ask for an open session to the public,.