Amarillo City Attorney Marcus Norris has quit.
He’ll be gone in two weeks, leaving the city with either zero legal counsel or a new lawyer who’s got to learn the ropes the way Norris did when he became the city’s legal eagle.
There’s really no sugarcoating this resignation. Norris is a casualty of the new regime on the City Council. One of the new guys, Mark Nair, took the oath of office and barely put his hand down before calling City Manager Jarrett Atkinson’s resignation. Another new guy, Randy Burkett, called for the resignation of the entire Amarillo Economic Development Corporation board.
Oh, and today’s joint City Council-AEDC meeting? Neither Nair or Burkett were present.
That’s leadership, yes? Well, no.
That is the kind of chaos facing the senior City Hall staff. Norris would have none of it.
So, he’s out.
As for Atkinson, the council is set to meet Tuesday to discuss his status. I have no clue what the smart money on the street thinks will happen. My own hope is that Atkinson stays on the job.
And as for Norris, he’s had his fill already of the recklessness exhibited by at least a couple members of the city’s governing board.
There’s a lot more at stake than just a handful of public service careers. The city’s forward movement as it relates to its downtown revival effort might be in jeopardy if the “agents of change” seek to do too much too quickly.
Let’s not pussyfoot around this matter, either.
If Atkinson quits or is fired, the city’s top administration is left without a leader at a time when it needs leadership. The city is on the cusp of starting a bold effort that it’s never considered before. Yet the naysayers have gotten cold feet, their hands have gone clammy, they’ve hurled accusations out and about over alleged nefarious motives and a so-called “lack of public input” into this multi-faceted project.
And now some folks dislike the way the city runs?
One key city staffer is heading for the exit. Today was not a good a day at City Hall. I fear more bad days are coming.