Unfortunately, it appears that our municipal government is once again attempting to mislead citizens.
This week, the Amarillo City Council discussed changing the time of its meetings from 5pm to 7am. While no formal agreement was reached, the change will likely occur with no opposition, as most Councilmembers seemed on-board with the idea of changing the time.
One comment made during the work session was that the change would benefit working parents and employees by moving to 7am. Councilmembers also pointed out that the County Commissions in Potter and Randall County meet early, so it wouldn't be a huge change.
Actually, it would be.
In both counties, typically the Commissions will meet at around 9am. This is still early, but is nowhere near as early as the proposed 7am start time for the Amarillo City Council. Also, there is no elected body in Amarillo that conducts its regular meetings at such an outrageous time.
At the Amarillo Independent School District, meetings typically begin between 5pm and 6pm. At Amarillo College, the Board of Regents meetings typically occur later in the evening, occasionally as late as 7pm. The Panhandle Groundwater Conservation District Board also typically meets in the evenings.
Unless one is discussing tax hearings or hospital districts, there are no real precedents for an elected local government entity in Amarillo to meet at 7am. So, what's the big push?
In the past, the City Council has met at 3pm, 5pm and 6pm. According to statements made by City officials, never in the history of Amarillo has the City Council met at 7am. We have had generations of talented leaders on the City Council and City Commission in Amarillo and none ever pushed to change the time of the meetings to a time where the doors of City Hall aren't even unlocked.
Supporters of the City Council will make whatever excuses they want. The truth is, this is just another attempt by government to shut out the citizens that it is supposed to represent. Our government continues to show that it cares not one bit about the opinions of its constituents. This is absolutely shameful.
The City Council needs to pump the brakes on this ill-conceived idea and consider the real consequences of making such a ludicrous change. If pausing for consideration is something this body is unable or unwilling to do, then I believe it's time to dump these officials come election time.
-Thomas Warren III, Editor-in-Chief