Augusta city attorney will not resign

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News 12 at 6 o'clock, June 4, 2007

AUGUSTA, Ga---It has been more than one month since Augusta Mayor Deke Copenhaver asked Augusta's new city attorney to resign. Although he is no longer working for the government, News 12 has learned Eugene Jessup is still on the city's payroll.

Mayor Copenhaver says the commission was not happy with Jessup's job performance since being hired in January. Jessup was on a probationary status, but instead of firing him, city leaders sent him a letter in early May, asking him to resign. City leaders also say conflict between Jessup and some commissioners prompted the letter.

Jessup has chosen not to resign and News 12 has learned he has been placed on administrative leave with pay. His annual salary is $100, 000. City administrator Fred Russell says Jessup remains on payroll only because the Augusta commission hasn't taken any action to fire him.

"That is why he is on administrative leave with pay. To take him off pay at this particular point in time without some commission approval would be putting him in jeopardy," Russell says.

In addition to Jessup's salary, News 12 obtained documents showing since March, Augusta taxpayers have paid more than fifteen thousand dollars to Atlanta attorney Quentin Seay to deal with the hard drive controversy.

Commissioner Betty Beard says the commission plans to address the issue during Tuesday's meeting. She says some commissioners are calling for Jessup's immediate termination.

News 12 contacted Jessup Tuesday. He says he is aware he may be fired, but did not want to talk about why he is not resigning.

"I have been put in a position where I'm damned if I do, I'm damned if I don't so to speak. If I do tell you what I'd like to, then I may step on somebody's toes unfortunately," Jessup told us.

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