Eclectic commentary from a progressive voice in the red state

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Call the investigation and stop the name-calling

Some of my friends are rallying to the defense of the entrenched crew at city hall, calling two of the
new councilors, Mark Nair and Randy Burkett, members of the “knee jerk party.” Mayor Paul Harpole is on the attack, going as far as calling Burkett a liar. There is more to this whole issue and I add this information to the blog to let people know.

I covered City Hall for steadily from 2007-2013. I watched Harpole in action. A now-former city councilor one complained to me about how Harpole treated her and others and tried to even bully her and others. When I ran the Indy full-time during the 2013 campaign, former employees from the old Ford dealership contacted us to complain about Harpole’s temper.

Throughout the downtown development, I personally saw Harpole in action. He treated people who disagreed with him and the City Council with open disdain and on several occasions with discourtesy that went well past rudeness.

And let me tell you something else about this city government people are so staunchly defending. When one of the big upheavals went on at the airport, someone from the city gave me the full personnel file of one of the airport managers under scrutiny. The file contained tons of really, really negative stuff and it was given to me to bolster the city management’s position — and that was when Atkinson was the assistant city manager over the airport. Whoever at the city got the file to me did something illegal (it even had the SSN and other clearly confidential stuff) and did it clearly for the benefit of management.

My sources in a position to KNOW tell me that Vicki and the top management KNEW from Burkett well ahead of time he was going to ask for her resignation, as he ultimately did. So, it wasn’t a surprise. While I share some people’s concerns about Burkett and I don’t know what really happened, I am not going to out-of-hand accept the city’s version as if it was pure as the driven snow. The city people can play hardball with a smile on their faces. That means the letter can be back-dated and I have no reason to believe otherwise.

And, add to this, many of you all sneered when the city used the term “resignation” about McGee and Barlow from Animal Control, saying it really wasn’t. Why take the other position now. I am tired of this naïveté.

The three new councilors are doing what they promised and what the people wanted. Period.

If we want to remove all the doubt, let’s have an investigation using Sec. 19 of the Amarillo Municipal Code.