Right idea on council selection; just need more ‘vetting’

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Amarillo City Councilman Mark Nair is correct to favor a new way of filling vacancies on the body on which he serves.

It needs to be more open, more accessible to the public. Nair helped design the new process for filling those vacancies, which he said used to be done in secret.

The new process also requires a good bit of tinkering and tweaking to avoid the embarrassment that appears to have developed in the search for someone to replace Councilman Brian Eades, who’s leaving the council this summer.

At issue are weird Facebook comments attributed to Sandra McCartt, one of the finalists being considered for the Place 2 seat. There are some doozies out there. The council didn’t see them coming.

According to the Amarillo Globe-News: “’Nothing in the process said if someone said something goofy or bone-headed in the past,’ it would determine their worthiness,” (Nair) added.

“Nair said in the past, council would have appointed a candidate in a back room and none of the conversation would have been public. He said he designed the current process because he wanted the community to be a part of the conversation, and things such as McCartt’s — and other candidates — comments on social media will be part of the discussion.”

Social media platforms are everywhere. Facebook is just one of them. People have Twitter, LinkedIn and Tumblr accounts. They are likely to say just about anything using any of these social media outlets.

This push for openness has created an opportunity for the City Council to work even harder to ensure they find the right people either to fill vacancies on the body, or select a city manager — which is another task awaiting the council.

Indeed, the city manager selection ought to include a thorough vetting of the men and women who make the list of finalists for that job.

The council said it was intent on invoking “change” in the way the city did business. That’s fine. The change, though, also seems to require a bit more care and attention to detail from the folks who are seeking to reform the way City Hall does its business.

A more thorough vetting of social media accounts is a reasonable place to start.

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