What's up with the discussion over Amarillo city manager Jared Miller's employment?

This little tid bit set for this coming Tuesday should raise a few eye brows.

According to the Work Session agenda set for 1 pm Tuesday, the Amarillo City Council is set to possibly discuss the employment of city manager Jared Miller. Here is the agenda:

1. Call to Order

2. Executive Session The City Council may convene in Executive Session to receive reports on or discuss any of the following pending projects or matters:

2.A. Section 551.074 - Discuss the appointment, employment, evaluation, reassignment, duties, discipline, or dismissal of a public officer or employee: i. Jared Miller, City Manager

3. Adjourn

Earlier this year, the previous city council voted 4-1 to amend Miller's contract before the May 2023 election. Terms that were updated in Miller’s contract include a salary change from $294,000 to $313,000, based on the CPI for 2022 at 6.57%, an increase in vacation time from 16 days to 25 days to match what a city employee with more than 20 years of experience gets, and other adjustments in other allowances, such as auto, cell phone, and sick days.

There is no term on the contract, the city manager will still be hired at the will of the city council. The contract can be amended, at any time, with the agreement of the city council and city manager.

The contract can be terminated, at any time, without cause, but four city council members need to agree and the contract can be terminated at any time, with cause, with three city council members agreeing.

Miller's contract if he is terminated, without cause, has a severance package that the 2015 city council put in.

Former Amarillo mayor, Ginger Nelson, said at the time that Miller's contract needed to be updated the current leadership. Nelson argued that passing off the negotiations with Miller over his contract to the next Council not be in the city's best interests.

“The current city manager’s contract is six years old, and it was entered into a few months before the 2017 council came on the dais, so it’s not unusual for the council that has worked with the city manager to make the contract. And that allows the new council, who yet doesn’t have any experience in working with the city manager, to get that experience, to get that understanding before there is a need to touch the contract again,” Nelson said. “It is really important that the contract negotiations and the contract terms be based on the city manager's performance and not on politics.”

Current Amarillo mayor, Cole Stanley, who held the Place 1 seat on the city council before the May 2023 election, was the lone vote against updating Miller’s contract. Stanley maintained any decision on Miller's contract should be made by the newly elected city council.

“You have an outgoing city council, and only one of us has a chance to come back with the potential to have five new councilmembers. That city manager position is a performance position, and he works at the council's will,” Stanley said at the time. “It should be the future council that has the opportunity to renegotiate a contract if he wants a new contract.”

It's not clear at this time what specifically the city council plans to discuss concerning Miller's employment during the work session at 1 pm. Things may become a little clear during the regular city council meeting at 3 pm on Tuesday. 

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