The purpose of the 1913 Amarillo City Charter was to bring order to a city that was out of money and run by Texas Rangers and Potter County according to a recent article in the Amarillo Globe-News. The efforts worked so well, the newly amended charter is the focus of a yearlong celebration of the document’s 100th anniversary.
“We give credit to Amarillo for being the first in Texas (to enact a council-manager charter),” said Terrell Blodgett, retired professor of local government at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas. “Terrell, Texas, passed one on Nov. 10 and Amarillo did it eight days later, but most of us give credit to Amarillo, because Terrell didn’t appoint a manager for three years.”
The idea spread, and a large number of cities in the state and nation have some version of it.
“It was seen as being a very positive innovation. The city manager is a professional who can oversee the day-to-day business of running a city,” said Dave Rausch, a political science professor at West Texas A&M University. “By 1994, it was the most popular form of government for cities with populations of more than 10,000.”
Saturday’s gala at the Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport, kicked things off with the intention of uniting the city’s past and future with a video of the city’s history, banners featuring each of the city’s departments, and the unveiling of the city’s new logo and slogan — Open Spaces. Endless Opportunities.
The planning of activities for the yearlong celebration is ongoing, but some of the first events will be educational.