Retirement in name only

Let’s call Mike McGee’s departure as head of the Amarillo Animal Control operation what it is: a “retirement” in name only.

McGee didn’t “retire” the way most of us understand the term. He was shoved out, asked to leave, perhaps told to hit the road.

By my way of seeing things, he should have gotten the boot when allegations erupted over mistreatment of animals that were being euthanized at the shelter.

City Manager Jarrett Atkinson put McGee and his chief deputy, Shannon Barlow, on “administrative leave,” meaning they were getting paid while letting someone else do their job — and while a Randall County grand jury investigated whether to indict anyone for criminal wrongdoing.

Well, McGee is gone. His “retirement,” announced Thursday, is effective today. Interesting, eh?

The fact that the city implemented serious changes in the euthanasia methods for unwanted animals carries the implication that the former way was wrong, if not illegal. Who was responsible for that? The guy in charge … McGee. Let’s throw Barlow into that category as well.

And when the guy in charge is running a publicly funded operation in a way that cries out for change, that suggests he isn’t doing his job. Isn’t that correct? Thus, he and his top assistant both should have been canned.

Now he’s “retired.” McGee’s troubles might not be over. The grand jury is supposed to decide perhaps by June 11 whether to indict anyone for crimes involving the Animal Control Department. McGee and Barlow appear to be the individuals on the hot seat.

This story appears to be far from over.

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