Preparing Changes To The City Charter For A November Ballot

The Amarillo City Council held a Work Session Thursday morning to advance the process of getting amendments to the current City Charter ready for the November ballot.

Baker Tilly US, LLP, attended the meeting via Zoom.

Already under contract to aid Amarillo in its search for a City Manager, Baker Tilly has also been secured to serve as a consultant in preparing the changes to the city charter. The two agreements total nearly $86,000, the consulting fee coming to $49,975.00.

Councilman Don Tipps (Place 2) was not in attendance Thursday morning but did leave questions and concerns to be shared on his behalf. Interim City Manager Floyd Hartman read them. Tipps thinks the fee is “excessive,” and wondered who secured Baker Tilly and why? He also wanted to know if other options, including additional bids from other firms were considered.

Perhaps the most surprising thing read aloud by Hartman was that Tipps said he “has not seen the contract.”

Mayor Cole Stanley later shared the ‘official list’ of names that will serve on the committee charged with identifying and recommending the changes needed to the charter. Among them are:

  • Donna Ward (Deright): Former Amarillo City Secretary
  • Gary Pitner: Former Executive Director, Panhandle Regional Planning Commission
  • Freda Powell: Former Amarillo City Council Member, Mayoral Candidate
  • Dean Crump: Businessman, Entrepreneur, City Council Candidate

There are 10 names total. Councilmen Tom Scherlen and Les Simpson will also serve on the committee.

Among the possible changes to the charter mentioned Thursday morning was moving to 3 or 4-year terms; possibly staggered, extending the dais to 7 members, and updating the Petition to Recall which currently makes it almost impossible to remove an official once elected.

The meetings are to begin immediately. Suggested changes will most likely need to be made in July to allow for fine-tuning before the August deadline.

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