Amarillo, TX - The resignation of Amarillo City Manager Jarrett Atkinson adds to the list of vacant, prominent city positions, but Mayor Paul Harpole says there are no applicants to fill them.
On Monday, Atkinson resigned after devoting 11 years to serving the City of Amarillo. He declined to comment about what led to his resignation, but Harpole said city council instability was a factor.
Harpole said continued conflict amongst city council members hurt Atkinson's ability to do his job. "The inability for us to work towards a goal. The inability for us to work with him in the way that we should. Council members not answering texts or phone calls and not devoting the time they said they would to have a retreat and come up with objectives so our city can move forward. I don't think our city manager, Jarrett Atkinson, had much choice."
Harpole said it's problems like those that are hurting the city's ability to hire key staff as well. With Atkinson's resignation, there are now six vacant positions: City Manager, Deputy City Manager, IT Director, Public Works Director, City Attorney and an administrator for the new Simms Building.
"We're getting no applicants," said Harpole. "We're not getting people on a career track to look at us. This needs to settle down. We are simply not accomplishing the things that we need to do to move this city forward at this point and it deeply concerns me."
Four months ago, council member Mark Nair called for Atkinson's resignation. However Tuesday, Nair said Atkinson's resignation is no longer something he wants. "Not at this point," said Nair. "We have been working on building a good professional relationship since then. We're making some good progress at the city with things we want to accomplish. There are large strategies that we are still building: a five year build out, a 10 year build out, all these things we were working toward. So that's why I said I was completely surprised by it. I didn't see it coming."
Despite Atkinson's resignation, Nair said he is optimistic the city can still move forward. "People have to know the city still works. Everything is okay and I am confident that that's going to happen because we have a wonderful staff. We really do."
The city council will address Atkinson's resignation at their meeting on October 20, including his final day with the city and who will take over as interim city manager.