Amarillo, TX - Leadership changes could be coming to the City of Amarillo next week and one veteran council member is urging newly elected officials to take a step back in their crusade for change.
On Tuesday, newly elected council members called for the resignation of Amarillo City Manager Jarrett Atkinson and all five Amarillo Economic Development Corporation (AEDC) Board members in a move to make good on their promise to make change.
"We ran our campaign on change and we felt their needed to be some changes made once we took office," said Place 3 council member Randy Burkett.
"What I was elected to do was change and accountability and I'm trying to do my job," added Place 4 council member Mark Nair.
Veteran councilman Brian Eades expected and welcomed new ideas, but worries requesting resignations within hours of being sworn in is premature. "New individuals may want to understand how the city works before you launch into that," said Eades. "It took me almost two years on the council to figure out exactly all the details regarding city government and how it works."
Eades said Atkinson, who manages about 3,000 employees, should not be the only scapegoat for the city's problems. "Certainly, ultimately he is responsible, but I think you have to hold middle managers and lower level managers responsible for what they do in the workplace everyday as well."
Potential resignations of the entire AEDC board are also a concern for Eades. "They are in negotiations for a contract with a company called Gestamp, which is a Spanish company. Their proposal is to spend $350 million here in salaries for employees only in the next ten years. It could have a huge potential impact on our city and if you are just going to throw out the board members and then not leave the executive director with any guidance, what kind of negative economic impact is that going to have on our city?"
Eades now urges his colleagues to consider their options before moving forward. "I think everyone needs to step back, take a breath, and consider the impact on services and city government here of really such a drastic step of that kind. There are ways of undergoing change in a measured, rational and prudent manner that don't involve blowing city hall up from the inside."
The council will discuss the potential resignations at their meeting on Tuesday.