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After Tuesday’s presentation by the three different companies, and doing some more research after the meeting. I feel like the best bang for our buck would be the firm of Baker Tilly. I believe they all had a good presentation, but felt Baker Tilly had a very professional presentation. I just wanted to put this out as food for thought.

There is another subject I would like to approach at this time.  I believe we should put out a posting for the Amarillo Staff employees who might be interested in this position within our City.   I think we should take their applications ourselves and process and interview if we are interested.  I really think we owe it to all of our employees to start a search here at home. I think we might be doing an injustice to our current staff by going outside to begin with.   I do not mind doing a national search but if we look at history the ones that have been promoted from within have had the longest longevity with the City.  If we look at John Stiff,  he was promoted from within and served the City very well.  Then if we go look at John Ward, we went out on a national search, then came back to John who was already doing the job as assistant to John Stiff and found another diamond in the rough.  These are just some thoughts that I would like to get some feedback on.  Make it a great day and enjoy life here in Amarillo. 

As I mentioned in my comments in November, the selection of the city manager is one of the few powers given to mayor and council in the city charter.

In 1913, Amarillo was the first city in the state of Texas that adopted this city manager form of government where a professional manager runs the city instead of an elected mayor. It’s become the prototype for city government organizations across the country.

Citizens elect a mayor and council, who in turn select a manager to run the city.

The purpose is to have an apolitical, full time, experienced city manager to carry out the administrative function of running the city. And perhaps the toughest part of the job is the city manager reports to five bosses, not one! It is a tough and demanding job that requires a unique skill set.

That balance of power between the council and manger is crucial and when this becomes out of balance, it can cause problems. It’s crucial that the manager know how to keep the power in balance as administrations change.

In the last 20 years, we have promoted from inside twice -Alan Taylor and Jarrett Atkinson - and we’ve hired form outside once – Jared Miller.

This council has spent many hours in meetings, budget workshops and executive session, not to mention time we spend outside of city hall working on issues. I hope the citizens and city staff are finding this council to be helpful in moving the city forward and we are earning trust through our work.

But what’s more important than finding the right leader for our city and should we spend an equal amount of time on locating someone who will manage a budget of half a billion dollars and more than 2,000 employees?

This selection, if done correctly, will impact our community far beyond our terms.

We are at a crossroads of our own making as a council. We determined it was time for a new city manager.

A comprehensive, thorough search will help us identify the best person to lead our city. But there are other benefits.

It gives council a chance to focus and discuss what the city needs to achieve long term, not just the time we serve. And what type of leader it will take to get us there. We can perhaps involve the community in this discussion in some way.

It can give us an opportunity to learn what other cities are doing that we may not know about and new ideas we could consider as we interview candidates.

We might find someone who, although they might not be ready to be our city manager, might be valuable for another role in our leadership now or in the future.

Is the best person to run our city already on staff? We have an excellent executive management staff and there is no doubt in my mind that one or more of them would be very viable candidates.

But how do we know with certainty we have the best person for the job without doing a search to compare to the best candidates?

And do we owe it to our citizens, city employees and our community to conduct a thorough search for the best person to fill this role, no matter where that person comes from?




Thank you Les for your input in this discussion.

Afternoon Gentlemen

I had a very productive call earlier today with Edward Williams from Baker Tilly.  My main question for him was if he had an opinion on if current employees should apply through the search firm or if it would be better to have them apply through council and HR.  He pointed out that in his experience it was best to have all prospects go through the same process.  I also asked if he had any issues if the council was to direct his firm to include current employee applicants in the finalist group as well as all that would be brought by his company.  Example: top 5 may be 3 recommended and 2 current employees if we had multiple applicants internally.  My consideration is to insure that council gets the best opportunity to promote from within and not let go of all control as to who makes  the final list.  Any questions or concerns for any other councilmen?

Out of the three firms I believe that Baker Tilly is the best fit for our council.  I discussed with Edward the additional time to have him perform an analysis of council and our organization during the search so that we can insure he understands our vision, mission, and leadership needs.  I also welcome an objective review of our performance thus far as well as a critique on our weaknesses so that we can improve as we grow through this process.  He confirmed that is all in his scope and will invest as much time with council as needed.  

Interested to hear from Don and Josh on which way they are leaning.


Thank you

I think our next City Manager is actually already on staff. My experience through different leadership/managerial aspects in life has proven that the internal choices that understand the culture, built respect and rapport with their colleagues, and have already learned what “hasn’t worked” in the organization typically has the motivation to take it to the next level. Especially with someone who already is invested into our city. Along with great understanding of current SOP & SOG etc. I have also seen the negative effects of hiring external on someone in a very “high-end” role. That is my opinion, but I cannot rule out who I do not know is out there seeking the position of City Manager for Amarillo that could be a better fit. With that said, my opinion of a firm to use from their presentation was Baker Tilly. I feel strongly that our next City Manager is on staff though, and deserves the same opportunity as anyone else. 

-J. Craft

Good morning! It looks like Baker Tilly/Edward Williams is the choice for our city manager search.

Are we ready to move forward with Baker Tilly, sign an agreement and let him know we are ready for the next steps in the search so we can begin?

Or do we need to wait another week and put on the agenda for Jan. 23?

Les could you or Don reach out to Baker Tilly and see if they could come to our meeting on the 23rd for a final interview?  We could put it on the agenda to award but allow council one more opportunity to ask any additional questions.



I can reach out to him. Thanks!

I just talked with Edward and he will here for our meeting next week in person. If weather causes travel problems, he'll be prepared to do virtual. But his preference is in person. Thanks!

Real good.  I appreciate you getting with him and we look forward to being able to finalize our selection. 


Thank you sir

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