The timing could not be worse.
And Amarillo residents, not to mention taxpayers, deserve an explanation.
With the city in the middle of a controversy regarding homeless people basically living outside near downtown Amarillo (public comments regarding "Tent City" have dominated Amarillo City Council for a few weeks now), the person who was one of the city's primary contacts for dealing with the homeless issue has resigned.
James Allen, the city’s Community Development Department administrator since 2011, resigned this past Thursday.
And the city has offered little to no reason as to why.
The city offered the traditional basic and meaningless statement, with City Manager Jared Miller saying in a statement, "We wish him (Allen) the best of luck on his endeavors and appreciate his dedication and service to our City."
Sorry, but that is not enough.
Considering Allen's high-profile position, the city owes Amarillo residents and taxpayers more than some generic news release that fails to provide any answers.
The homeless issue in Amarillo is not going anyway anytime soon. There is a federal lawsuit requesting the city stop legal proceedings against "Christ Church Camp of New Beginnings" - also known as "Tent City." While there are several questions surrounding the claims reported in the lawsuit, we expect the city will defend its related ordinances.
Allen is well-known to Amarillo, having served on the Amarillo Independent School District Board of Trustees since 1999.
Is his resignation in any way related to the "Tent City" issue? Did he resign, or was he "asked" to resign by city administration? Is the resignation health-related? Did he resign for another job?
Does Allen's resignation in any way impact his ability to serve on the Amarillo ISD board? (Keep in mind, the Amarillo ISD board had little concern when one of its own members, John Betancourt, pleaded guilty in 2017 to driving while intoxicated - a misdemeanor. While this was Betancourt's second such offense following an arrest in May 2012 on a charge of public intoxication, the board showed little public reaction.)
If Allen resigned for another job opportunity or, unfortunately, resigned due to health issues, then the city should just say so.
Allen is a public figure, whose salary is (or was) paid by taxpayers. While we do not expect the city to divulge every personal detail about Allen's resignation, those preferring complete and confidential privacy regarding their employment should work in the private sector, and not the public sector.
In the case of James Allen, a nondescript statement is not enough for Amarillo.