Number of vacant Augusta department head positions grows to 6

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City leaders are still searching for candidates to fill several vacancies among department heads in Augusta.

Six department head positions are now vacant in Augusta. The latest is Human Resources; Director Brena Byrd Pelaez has resigned after working for the city for nine years.

In her letter of resignation, she cites a lack of professional respect and the inability to discipline her employees without negative recourse as reasons for leaving.

Pelaez spoke to News 12 in February after she says the city administrator and members of her staff ignored her directive and approved raises for six elected officials--raises which were later rescinded.

Her leaving now means Augusta's Human Resources, Housing and Economic Development, Engineering, Animal Control, Finance, and Emergency Management Director positions are unfilled.

Some current employees tell News 12 this list is growing because of low morale among city employees. We asked Augusta mayor Deke Copenhaver about it.

"I can sense it. And once again, going to staff meetings, I continue to let them know I understand the situation," says Copenhaver. "They're doing a lot with a little. It's difficult when we're having to cut back, we're having them do it with fewer resources. It's a rough situation to be in."

Copenhaver tells News 12 he hopes the vacancies are filled soon...but he says there is no rush because he believes the interim directors are doing a good job.