Tucumcari Economic Development Director Ben Kendrick who was scheduled to finish up his job with the Greater Tucumcari Economic Development Corporation on Sept. 31 and take a similar position in Hobbs has left the Tucumcari job early.
“As of today (Thursday, Aug. 5) the GTEDC and I have severed all connections,” said Kendrick about his leaving his economic development director’s position earlier than expected. “I would prefer not to comment on why I am leaving early, let us just say we (the board of the Greater Tucumcari Economic Development Corporation and himself) agreed it would be best for the corporation and for community for me to leave now.”
Citizen’s Bank President Leo Thrasher who is also the Chief Executive Officer of the economic development corporation confirmed that Kendrick was no longer with the corporation but declined to comment on the specific reason for Kendrick’s unexpected early departure citing “personnel matters” as the reason for not giving specifics on Kendrick’s early exit.
“Everyone concerned felt it would be best this way,” said Thrasher.
Thrasher did say that a rumor going around earlier in the week that more money had been offered to Kendrick as a raise and as signing bonus to get him to stay had no substance whatsoever.
“Speaking for the board, I can say there was never anything to this at all,” said Thrasher.
Thrasher said possibly an individual may have come up with the idea, but it was never seriously considered by the board of the economic development corporation.
Thrasher said the corporation was currently looking for a new director and would be exhausting a number of different avenues to do so.
“We are doing another search and we will be as thorough and as quick as we can to find someone else to fill the position,” said Thrasher.
Kendrick said he was not certain how the number of ongoing projects he was involved with such as a new WalMart, a race track/casino, a new rail spur and an ethanol plant, would be handled by the economic development corporation now that he has left.
“I don’t wish to comment on that,” said Kendrick.
Kendrick said he would be physically leaving Tucumcari early in the upcoming week.
Tucumcari Mayor Mary Mayfield who earlier had expressed her hope that Kendrick could continue to help Tucumcari at least through August said she is sad that it was no longer a possibility.
“I had hoped it would be an amicable parting of the ways, but since it was not, the Economic Development Corporation will continue on,” said Mayfield. “I don’t think it (the economic development corporation) will be inhibited by this.”