Watch ’em like a hawk

Memo to the Amarillo City Commission: We’ll be watching you like hawks.

The commission has decided to conduct a national search to replace former City Manager Alan Taylor, who has worked his last day as the city’s CEO.

Why the need for vigilance? Well, the commission promises complete openness as it goes about the search. Sadly, in this cynical age, elected officials’ word too often just isn’t good enough. The public will need to keep a sharp eye on the process.

We’ll need to know a host of things about this search: the name of the consulting firm the city will hire to help it in the search; its cost to the city; the process it will employ; the names of the finalists who emerge from what likely will be a large pool of applicants.

City Hall has done the right thing. It should have conducted a serious national search when John Ward retired as city manager in 2004. It went through the motions before elevating Taylor to the top job. Taylor did well in the post, but it would have been better for him — not to mention the city — if he had competed against a top-drawer field of applicants.

The city is making the right moves so far. But we have to remain alert to ensure that it makes good on officials’ pledge for transparency.