In an e-mail Tuesday to library officials statewide, Cole gave little indication of why she will step down March 2, Walker said.
“As far as we understand, it was completely voluntary on her part,” Walker said. The e-mail gave no indication that Cole was leaving because of a job offer, she said.
Augusta Commission member Jerry Brigham, asked whether he knew of any problems in library management, said some library employees were disappointed they didn’t receive the $500 annual raise other city employees got this year.
According to former library Director Gary Swint, Cole decided to use the additional city funds for other library purposes.
After Monday’s board of library trustees meeting, Swint’s first since being named a trustee by Commissioner Grady Smith, it became apparent that funds restored at a recent commission retreat would have covered the raises, Swint said.
The board typically would not weigh in on such decisions but “felt strongly” that staff should receive the raises and expressed its opinion to Cole on Monday, Swint said.
Swint also mentioned there have been “some problems” since Cole took over but declined to elaborate.
Swint said whoever is managing the library is having to cope with declining state funds, utility bills at the new main library that are more than twice those paid for the former site and threatened cuts to the Talking Book Center.
Cole took over last April as director of the East Central Regional Library, which includes the main Augusta library and branches in Burke, Columbia, Lincoln and Warren counties. Cole, a former director of Dougherty County Library in Albany, was selected after a nationwide search.