SEATTLE - George Scarola says it is time for a unified front on one of the biggest issue's facing Seattle.

"The city needs to be one voice on that subject. The city, mayor, the council in agreement on how to proceed will be an important start," said the new Director of Homelessness, a cabinet level position.

Wednesday was Scarola's first day on the job, which pays him $137,500 a year.

"I think the city, the mayor, has a clear idea of what he needs from (this job), someone that can coordinate the work of 20 agencies," he said during a morning interview at Seattle City Hall.

Scarola has been a longtime political insider in city and state politics. His bio, released by the mayor's office, highlights his work on the Sand Point Community Housing Project as executive director, which converted housing at the Sand Point Naval Air Station, and work with House Speaker Frank Chopp and State House Democrats.

This year, according to the mayor's bio, Scarola returned from Hefei, China, where he was lecturing at the University of Science and Technology of China.

He was in the process of meeting with stakeholders on Wednesday but said the city needed to do a better job handling encampments.

"The city needs to clarify its policy on encampments in a way that can be carried out by a number of different agencies."

Those stakeholders and advocates were cautious to comment about the appointment on Wednesday, although one council member did call Scarola "tenacious" and "energetic."

Scarola, however, acknowledged he may not have all the answers, like whether the mayor's planned spending of $50 million was enough to handle the overriding issue.

"I don't know," he said. "Sure, we'd like to have more money, but I don't know. That's a bigger question than I can't answer today."