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New city manager pens letter to Amarillo citizens

I am not completely convinced the Amarillo City Council hired the right guy for the job, but I am starting to warm up to new city manager Grayson Path. The Amarillo City Council believes he is the right person for the job, so Path deserves the opportunity to prove himself.

Path, who begins his service in Amarillo on Aug. 12, penned an introductory letter to the citizens of Amarillo. 

"It is with much excitement that I accept the position of City Manager for the great city of Amarillo," said Path. "This community is thriving, energized and dynamic, an excellent place to live, work and play. But most importantly, Amarillo is a city where many call their home."

“My desire is to have an effective and efficient team of outstanding city employees who faithfully and responsibly carry out your vision for Amarillo as relayed through your elected officials (the City Council),” said Path, “To accomplish this, it will be my expectation that my team and I will serve in a respectful, civil and open manner. With limited resources and competing priorities, I cannot promise a satisfactory response to every request, but it will be my goal to do our best each time to serve you, your neighbors, and visitors to our community.”

Path noted his gratitude for being chosen for the position and said that it was clear the Amarillo City Council want “to do their very best to serve the citizens of Amarillo – making the best decisions they can for the good of the community as a whole. Theirs is a tough (and sometimes impossible) task as you simply cannot make everyone happy. Over the years, I’ve come to appreciate that serving as a council member is filled with many stressful and complex decisions – knowing that everything they do will impact the community they love in different ways.

“My job is to help shoulder this burden with them. While I cannot make policy decisions for them, I will do everything I can to provide them with the information and counsel they need to reach an informed decision on every matter before them.”

Path said he intends to act as a “servant leader for this great team” of city employees.

“Most of them (city employees) are your friends, family, and neighbors. They themselves have families, hopes, goals and dreams just like you. They too call Amarillo home and care about the work we do as public servants for our community,” said Path.

“While I may not have an opportunity to meet every one of you individually, please know I am still working hard to serve all of you. I look forward to moving to Amarillo soon and getting to work.”

During a special meeting on June 3, the Amarillo City Council decided to pursue Path as the next city manager. Path is currently the city manager of Paris, Texas.

Amarillo City Council members cited Path’s success in moving Paris forward with the renovation of the wastewater treatment plant, initiating private trash collection and implementing the move to end the fire department’s underfunded pension plan along with other initiatives. 

Mayor Cole Stanley said it was Path’s candidness and problem-solving approach that ultimately stood out.

“Who’s the guy who’s most eager to get in this fight that we have for a wastewater treatment plant? You’re talking a $300 million problem that’s been 20 years in the making and we’re asking you to literally show up here and help us clean up this mess.”

Stanley also noted Path’s track record in problem-solving.

“If you look at some of the problems even in Paris, they had problems with trash, we have problems with trash,” Stanley said. “You know, they have problems with an underfunded pension plan with their fire department and he was able to solve that problem and get the community to buy into it."

The position for city manager has been vacant for almost a year. 

“When you don’t have a permanent leader in place, it’s kind of hard to think longer term,” said Les Simpson, city council place 4. “And so I think what this will help us to do is not only the budgeting and other things that we’re looking at, problems that we’re trying to solve, it’s being able to take a longer term approach with the leader that’s going to be here permanently for the long haul.”

Simpson also praised Path’s track record in problem-solving, particularly in his previous role in Paris, Texas.

“If you look at some of the problems even in Paris, they had problems with trash, we have problems with trash. You know, they have problems with a underfunded pension plan with their fire department and he was able to solve that problem and get the community to buy into it,” said Simpson.

Path, the Paris City Council and staff are responsible for implementing the $130 million renovation of the city’s wastewater treatment plant, a $1.3 million renovation of Love Civic Center, the demolition of the Belford Building, implementation of phase 1 of the historic Grand Theater and the outsourcing of the city’s solid waste service. Path also was instrumental in the move to end the fire department’s underfunded pension plan with a $12 million pension bond utilizing a retiring property tax debt levy, the first of its kind in Texas. Along with staff, Path also implemented a 5-In-5 In-Fill Housing Development Program.

Along with other organizations, Path led Paris in the construction of a 60-plus unit senior citizen affordable housing complex and saw the groundbreaking of a phase 1 buildout of 290 plus single and multifamily housing units in the new Forestbrook Estates subdivision, among other accomplishments.

Along with the Paris Economic Development Corp., the Path has been instrumental in negotiations with Huhtamaki for it $85 million expansion bringing 80 new jobs and Lionshead Specialty Tire & Wheel’s investment in a $20 million facility bringing 40 new jobs.

In addition, PEDC, the City of Paris and the Lamar County Chamber of Commerce have implemented both a unified branding message and a housing study and market analysis along with other projects to include roadway and water utility infrastructure in the Northwest Industrial Park using a PEDC-acquired $1.3 million grant.

Path credited his colleagues with the city’s achievements.

“Since April 2020, I have had the pleasure of working alongside an impressive team here at the City of Paris as we accomplish incredible work together,” Path said.

“From the city council, to the city staff, to our partners with the Paris Economic Development Corp. and the Paris & Lamar County Chamber of Commerce, and many more, there is much that we in Paris can be proud of. No one person can claim responsibility for these great accomplishments, they are truly a team effort, and I am so fortunate and blessed to be working with such a unit.”

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