Michael Loeser, Augusta’s human resources director for less than two years, is leaving city government.
In a letter to City Administrator Janice Allen Jackson obtained by The Augusta Chronicle, Loeser said he will retire Dec. 31. The letter notes he is fully vested in the city retirement program and eligible for severance pay as a “senior executive staff” member under city personnel policy.
The Augusta Commission accepted Loeser’s resignation after a closed-door meeting Tuesday and agreed to pay him severance pay equal to a month’s salary and benefits.
Loeser told The Chronicle earlier Tuesday he and his wife like their new home in Hephzibah and intend to remain there.
The commission selected Loeser last year from three finalists who included former Richmond County Board of Education human resources director Norman Hill and former South Carolina Department of Corrections chief operating officer Russell Campbell.
Loeser’s application stated he previously served as human resources director for Richmond, Va., public schools, as a deputy human resources commissioner in Atlanta and as a labor relations manager for Northrop Grumman Corp.
The city has a hard time keeping someone in the position. Former Director Rod Powell worked from 2008 until his retirement in 2011. The slot was vacant until 2013, when the commission hired Tanika Bryant, who resigned in 2015. Nearly a year later, Loeser was hired.
Since joining city government Loeser has been involved with the extensive rewrite of the city personnel manual. A commission subcommittee that was vetting the changes hasn’t met in months.
Commissioners said they did not know why Loeser chose to leave.
“I guess the job may have been a little too much for him,” Commissioner Dennis Williams said. “Human Resources is a difficult department. You’ve got so many people to accommodate. Then, you’ve got 10 to 12 bosses.”
The department head position is one of several that reports to the commission.
Commissioner Ben Hasan said the department’s challenges may stem from its losing resources during a 2012 commission effort to outsource it entirely.
Reach Susan McCord at (706) 823-3215 or firstname.lastname@example.org.