Contrary to popular opinion, the Amarillo City Commission doesn’t conduct the meat of its business in a star chamber.
It has a “work session.” It’s also open to the public. The commission, all five of whose members are seeking re-election this year, meets in a small conference room on the other side of the wall from the commission chambers.
OK, so it’s not a spacious room. A conference table gobbles up most of the space in the room. But it does have about 10 chairs lined up along one wall. Residents can attend the open portion of the meeting, where commissioners and the mayor get briefed by senior city staff, led by City Manager Alan Taylor.
The work session, as its title implies, allows commission members to work out the nuts and bolts of topics to be voted on during the business meeting that convenes at 3 p.m. every Tuesday at City Hall. These work sessions convene usually around 2 p.m. on commission meeting days and last until just prior to the start of the regular meeting.
And, yes, they do it in the open — just as if they were in the chambers, with the mayor calling for votes and wielding the gavel.
These work sessions just happen to be a well-kept secret.
Maybe now, though, the secret is out.