May 8, 2007
AUGUSTA, Ga.---Only four months after hiring him, Augusta commissioners are asking the new city attorney to resign.
The mayor says this was a decision reached by a consensus of the Commission, and while he wouldn't comment on Eugene Jessup's performance to us, he says it was clear things just weren't working out.
Monday afternoon, the mayor sent Jessup a letter reading:
"We have reached a consensus that your continued employment as director of the legal department would not be in the best interest of the city."
"Obviously some of the situation, the controversy surrounding this government, has initiated out of the legal department, so we've taken appropriate actions to remedy the situation," Mayor Copenhaver said.
Jessup was hired in January to replace longtime part-time city attorney Steve Shepard. The change finally gave the city full-time representation.
Since then, it's been no secret that Jessup has had some public run-ins with some commissioners.
Calvin Holland and Marion Williams have blasted Jessup in city meetings, Holland calling him insubordinate and Williams calling him out of line for seizing staff attorney Vanessa Flournoy's hard drive and turning it over to police after finding she used the city PC to do personal business. That incident is what led to last week's drama over city administrator Fred Russell's hard drive.
Today, when we caught up with Williams, he was much quieter when asked about Jessup.
"I'm not at liberty to say too much about it right now," he said.
The mayor says the decision to ask for Jessup's resignation was reached by the Commission, and says the city is quickly working to find a replacement.
"Right now, we do have a third party legal counsel to help us get out of some of those situations, and here again, we will be fine, will move forward, that really remains to be seen where we go from here," he said.
Mr. Jessup could not be reached for comment.
Jessup was being paid an annual salary of just over $100,000. The mayor says he will get a severance package.