Councilwoman Elaine Hays deserves credit for a vote taken by the Amarillo City Council last week.
On Tuesday, the Amarillo City Council voted on whether to approve a new resolution that, if passed, would limit the City of Amarillo's responsibility to deliver on Open Records Act requests without collecting reimbursement for staff hours. The resolution, in the opinion of this writer, is obviously meant to restrict the public's ability to receive public information and is a terrible step on a slippery slope at City Hall.
Surprisingly, Councilwoman Elaine Hays dissented with her colleagues and voted against the resolution. Hays has always been one of the expected "for" votes on every resolution that comes before the new City Council. This vote by Hays was a surprise, but one that she should receive credit for.
While Hays deserves credit for this vote, her colleagues do not. Mayor Ginger Nelson and the three remaining members of the Amarillo City Council cast favorable votes for a resolution that will hurt the public's ability to collect and view open records. This vote by the Amarillo City Council was very disappointing and is one that the public should remember for years to come.
This vote by Hays was a surprising attempt by the Councilwoman to allow the public to continue collecting public information in an affordable manner. We sincerely hope that Councilwoman Hays continues to have an open mind on issues such as the Christ Church Camp of New Beginnings closure, which is facing the City Council as we speak.
-Thomas Warren III, Editor-In-Chief