The Amarillo City Council has a set of board appointments on the agenda for Tuesday. It would be prudent if some of those appointments were tabled, at least through next week.
As election day approaches Saturday, all five members of the City Council are running for re-election in challenged contests. Some contests are much closer than others, but in each contest, the incumbent has at least one challenger, and as many as three challengers. Regardless of the results of the contests, the fact that the City Council is considering making these appointments just four days before the election is troubling.
Two board appointments stand out as particularly troubling - one seat on Animal Management and Welfare’s Advisory Board and another on the Amarillo Hospital District Board of Managers. These two entities have a strong direct influence in policy decisions by the city, and the Hospital Board actually makes funding recommendations and decisions itself. Making an appointment less than a week before the election to either of these boards would be a slap in the face to voters who may very well make changes to the composition of the Amarillo City Council on May 4th, especially considering the emphasis on Animal Management issues in this election.
My recommendation would be if the City Council so chooses, appointments could be made to the Beautification Board, the Library Board, and the Environmental Task Force on Tuesday, as these boards do not have quite as much policy influence as the Animal Management or Hospital Board. I also have reservations about the City Council considering appointing an alternate for the Zoning Board of Adjustment, but I think that appointment would also be understandable. However, I would strongly appeal to the City Council to table the appointments to the Animal Management Board and to the Hospital District Board. If the City Council so chooses, I would also not disagree with tabling all of the appointments for a week.
If the City Council is re-elected on Saturday, then I don’t think Amarilloans would have any problem letting those appointments sit for one more week. But, if voters do end up making a change on May 4th, or prolong the election into runoff territory, then those appointments should be ones in which the next composition of the City Council should have a say.
-Thomas Warren III, Editor-in-Chief