Fired Augusta city engineering director Teresa Smith hires Atlanta attorney, sends letter to city

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You could see this one coming.

Former City Engineering Director Teresa Smith has hired an Atlanta-based attorney after being fired from her position in December, and after being taken off of paid administrative leave earlier this month.

News 12's Domonique Benn was there as Augusta Mayor Deke Copenhaver was delivered the news--a letter from Smith and her attorney, Bill Atkins.

The mystery is what's in the letter. Its recipients--Mayor Copenhaver, City Administrator Fred Russell, and the Augusta Commissioners--weren't talking.

"It's just not a good business procedure for a city government and so I will not comment on personnel issues," said Copenhaver.

Teresa Smith was terminated in December.

Since then it's been unclear how Smith would handle her termination.

Commissioner Marion Williams warned the fellow commissioners about firing Smith.

"If there's nothing written up on her and her evaluation is good, then how can you justify firing somebody who has a good evaluation every year?" Williams said.

But commissioners still voted to fire Teresa Smith, and have never agreed on a proposed severance package.

Some expected the former employee would hire an attorney.

"Obviously I can't talk about any details about dialogue between my former employee, but it's not uncommon in these particular situations and we look forward to a positive resolution," says City Administrator Fred Russell.

And while the contents of the letter are unknown, it's clear that Teresa Smith has hired an attorney to resolve her problems.

Teresa Smith could not be reached for comment.