AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - Amarillo Interim City Manager Terry Childers has resigned following Tuesday's city council meeting in which he directed a crude comment toward a citizen during public comment.
"We accept comments from citizens and we have to treat those citizens with respect," said Mayor Paul Harpole. "We certainly can express our opinion, but it has to be done in a proper way."
During Tuesday's meeting, a resident took the podium to deliver his thoughts on recently-passed city propositions. After the resident finished his comments, he left the podium to retake his seat. Childers' microphone, still hot, picks up the interim manager muttering, "stupid son of a bitch."
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"I don't know what caused the reaction that Terry gave last night in the meeting, but I will just say that I thought it was unprofessional, inappropriate and his response was to step away from this job," said Harpole.
Harpole confirmed Childers' resignation to NewsChannel 10 Wednesday. Harpole said Deputy City Manager Bob Cowell will replace Childers until a permanent replacement can be found. He will ask the city council to confirm this at next week's council meeting.
"Terry asked that we accept his option to leave," said Harpole. "There's a 30-day option for either the city or him to release him [from his contract] and he asked that he could exercise his option, and so we accepted that."
Section 8 of Childers' contract, as Harpole explained, is simply a 30-day opt-out notice.
Childers told NewsChannel 10 he was already planning to resign on January 1, 2017, but Wednesday was a "great time" to do so.
He described Amarillo's political environment as "toxic" and "frustrating."
Childers is willing to help Cowell as much as he needs it.
Harpole said Cowell may consider applying for the permanent position of city manager.
This is not the first time Childers has been mired in controversy while serving in Amarillo.
In February, Childers called Amarillo Emergency Communications Center to file a report about a stolen briefcase and bag he claimed were taken while staying at an Amarillo hotel. According to tapes later released by the AECC, Childers demanded multiple police officers be sent to the scene to shut down the location for a search while also ordering a callback from an AECC supervisor.
Childers later called back and described the dispatch center as a 'three-ring circus' and said, "Y'all are not going to like what I'm about to do." Childers later assigned personnel from Amarillo's police and fire departments to manage operations at the dispatch center.
Childers was named Amarillo's Interim City Manager in November 2015. Childers, of Abilene, spent more than two decades serving in various capacities for city governments, including in Oklahoma City.