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City Manager; What Does SGR Know About Amarillo?

Strategic Government Resources, the same group that brought us Jarrett Atkinson and Terry Childers. Just because you are based in Texas doesn’t me you know Texas. 

Some years ago, I was called into a meeting with a consultant. He was hired by the ownership of the station I was working for at the time. With my coworkers and management in the same room, he told me I was too nice. He lamented that the only listeners I had at the time, were those who did nothing more than agree with everything I said.

“You need to piss them off,” he told me, turning his attention to my supervisors, adding, “he needs to be more abrasive, even if he has to make up characters and record bits and calls.”

Now, let me share my thoughts on consultants, but keep in mind, I am only doing so from a radio industry perspective. Consultants are generally those who have failed in some aspect of the industry they purport to represent only now they demand big bucks to share brilliant insight and intellect.

I tried doing as the consultant suggested back then and the audience saw right through it.  Even station management admitted it was wrong.

Strategic Government Resources (SGR) is a consulting firm in which the City of Amarillo has placed faith and dollars in the hope the company would be able to cull out, at the very least, a handful of qualified candidates to be considered for the position of City Manager. This is the same firm that brought us Jarrett Atkinson and Terry Childers. It also fell short this summer in providing a timely pool of qualified candidates when City officials briefly sought a permanent City Manager.

Why does the City find it necessary to hire consultants such as SGR in the first place?

We have boards and committees for everything today it seems.  In recent weeks and months, City officials have reached out to us, the citizens, to seek input on what we want when it comes to improving the overall quality of life here in Amarillo, to the point of letting us vote on what we want to spend millions of dollars on and those things we seem to be content with for now.

Yet, we seem to depend on someone with literally no connection to our city to provide us ‘qualified’ candidates for the most important job in our city’s government structure.  A quick glance at SGR’s Job Board (www.sgrjobs.com) shows they are doing the same for other Texas cities.  Bishop, Gonzalez, Corpus Christi and Granbury all looking for a City Manager, Assistant City Manager or the like.  The same in Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota. North Carolina, New Hampshire, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Vermont.

Even if all they received was 25 applications for each City Manager/Assistant City Manager listing – which I think may be low number – that’s nearly 400 applications.  And that’s just what is listed under City/County Manager and Administrators.  As of this writing, SGR lists 1,702 total listings for available jobs (www.governmentresource.com).

Is it wrong to want someone who understands Amarillo to aid in the search for the person to help lead and manage it?  With some knowledge of where we have been, what we are trying to accomplish and where we want to be 10 – 20 years from now?  If the City truly wants to involve we, the people, then it should do so in all aspects.  Since we appear to have committees for everything else, why not a search committee that would include 3 to 5 Amarillo citizens among its members?  This committee would conduct the solicitation for applicants, the vetting, an initial interview process and then make its recommendations to the Mayor and City Council.

But if you really want to use a firm like Strategic Government Resources – and save money at the same time – there is always Craigslist.

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TSM Amarillo

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