Newly retired 911 director was on unpaid leave

'Inappropriate relationship' led to scrutiny

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Phillip Wasson, the 911 director and an Augusta employee for 38 years, was on unpaid leave for creating a hostile work environment when he retired Tuesday, records show.

Phil Wasson
Phil Wasson

An employee who worked as a training coordinator at the 911 office accused Wasson in October of sexual harassment and of creating a hostile work environment for her when she refused his advances.

An investigative report completed by Augusta's Equal Employment Opportunity Office found insufficient facts on which to base either claim.

Instead, the report states Wasson created a hostile environment for overall operations at 911 by giving the woman preferential treatment as a result of the "inappropriate and unprofessional" relationship they had. The relationship helped her advance in promotions, training and certifications at a faster rate than many of her peers, the report from EEO Director Jacqueline Humphrey said.

City Administrator Fred Russell said he decided to place Wasson on leave without pay during the week before Thanksgiving after receiving the report. Russell said he didn't know whether further action would have been taken against Wasson had he not retired.

On Tuesday, Wasson said he made the decision to retire after contemplating the move for a year. He retires with his full pension, which he said now pays him slightly more than his annual salary, which records show was $79,881.16.

Assistant 911 Director Catherine White is serving as the interim 911 director, but the city likely will advertise for the position, Russell said.

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Austin Rhodes
2866
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Austin Rhodes 12/02/10 - 06:32 pm
0
0
Well...I called that one!

Well...I called that one!

Riverman1
84926
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Riverman1 12/02/10 - 06:39 pm
0
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His retirement income is more

His retirement income is more than his salary? Are all county employees in those kind of arrangements?

Sweet son
10555
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Sweet son 12/02/10 - 06:59 pm
0
0
Austin, you ain't as smart as

Austin, you ain't as smart as you think that you are. Just makes good fodder for your show. You don't even know what fodder is. Don't google it.

AugustaVoter
2
Points
AugustaVoter 12/02/10 - 07:04 pm
0
0
The Augusta 911 center was a

The Augusta 911 center was a joke under his command. Deputies faced serious injury while on duty under his charges. Deputies would often have to repeat emergency traffic or have dispatchers who didn't listen to the radio. When you call in crimes by phone, his charges would screw up the information and send deputies to wrong houses or businesses. Now I see why, the training coordinator was given the position in exchange for bedroom visits! Thank you for retiring. Augusta will be a safer place without him!

pointstoponder
181
Points
pointstoponder 12/02/10 - 07:08 pm
0
0
Riverman, no, most employees

Riverman, no, most employees are not under that plan. IIRC, Wasson was under the old City of Augusta Plan. There are not many active employees left on that one.

dani
12
Points
dani 12/02/10 - 07:37 pm
0
0
And some wonder why this

And some wonder why this nation is in trouble...
He can get his retirement after his work history? Surely that would eliminate any chance of drawing full retirement.

TrulyWorried
14536
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TrulyWorried 12/02/10 - 07:40 pm
0
0
No matter where one looks,

No matter where one looks, local or nationwide - crooks, thieves, and overpaid morons - yes dani - we are indeed in deep trouble - wonder what it takes for this nation to get out of this mess? A miracle? I wish!!

Insider Information
4009
Points
Insider Information 12/02/10 - 07:45 pm
0
0
Hmmm... I wonder why the city

Hmmm...
I wonder why the city is fighting so vigorously not to release those 911 calls to the Chronicle?

Taylor B
5
Points
Taylor B 12/02/10 - 07:52 pm
0
0
So, your under investigation.

So, your under investigation. You make a move and step down before all the dirty laundry is aired. You end up making more money off the backs of taxpayers.

When is this guy going to run for Governor of Georgia? That's the next step, right?

sjsd17
9
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sjsd17 12/02/10 - 08:00 pm
0
0
He was a sorry department

He was a sorry department head and treated all the employees like he owned them...except for the one(s) he wanted to "hook-up" with.
He wouldn't make the needed changes to protocols and things are still messed up...hopefully a real professional can be hired and straighten that place out!!!!

There are quite a few people in the same pension and have the same situation...losing money by working!!! So, there's obviously something wrong there!!!!!

SDB
0
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SDB 12/02/10 - 08:36 pm
0
0
"Deputies faced serious

"Deputies faced serious injury while on duty under his charges. Deputies would often have to repeat emergency traffic or have dispatchers who didn't listen to the radio. When you call in crimes by phone, his charges would screw up the information and send deputies to wrong houses or businesses." You ever thought about the deputies that don't listen to the radios? How many times have "we" yes, I am a dispatcher, have given the address numerous times and the deputies go to the wrong location. Or better yet, calling a deputy numerous times on the radio and they never answer. Ever time something goes wrong the dispatcher gets blamed. Injuries? The deputies get themselves injured because they have went out to a location without telling dispatch. Then come across the radio yelling.

I miss the old S.O. who worked as a team with dispatch. This new breed is as arrogant and as sorry as they come. Instead of always criticizing dispatch, come and work a day in our shoes.

8675309
0
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8675309 12/02/10 - 09:02 pm
0
0
SDB, many of the dispatchers

SDB, many of the dispatchers for Richmond County are just horrible. I cannot believe what I hear from dispatch. I'm not saying deputies don't forget to call in status codes, etc. but the overall performance of dispatch is simply unacceptable. Sometimes I think our dispatchers are Signal 6 or Signal 16.

Austin Rhodes
2866
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Austin Rhodes 12/02/10 - 10:42 pm
0
0
Phil Wasson should have been

Phil Wasson should have been fired 20 years ago when he left the firing range drunk in his city police vehicle, crashed into a van, and damn near killed himself in the process. He was made 911 director by Charlie Webster, who was a huge hypocrite in the way he played favorites and had double standards.

...and Sweets...I don't claim to be all that smart...but I knew enough about Wasson to bust him on that story two decades ago...and predict in my Spirit column a few weeks ago that he was as good as GONE as soon as Fred Russell was able to pull the trigger...you can read that on my FB ARS page...

Asitisinaug
3
Points
Asitisinaug 12/03/10 - 12:18 am
0
0
Augusta Richmond County 911

Augusta Richmond County 911 needs new leadership and a major attitude change with employees or they need to be changed as well.

Attitudes on the phone with the public, attitudes with deputies, firefighters and even EMS. Some are good but many are clueless to our local area and few if any are properly trained in basic skills nor have they ever even done ride-a-longs with the various agencies.

Their knowledge of the local area is limited to the screens in front of them and their since of urgency is sadly lacking.

It is good he is gone, should have happened a long time ago - now, lets get some new blood in their from the top down and WORK with the Sheriff, Fire Cheif, etc. to improve Public Safety vs. reigning like you are a God over 911 and not working with others. Most of the problems can be addressed with good leadership and acountability as many in dispatch would also like to see the bad dispatchers with attitude problems removed from service.

On the other hand, deputies, firefighters, etc. need to work at least 2 shifts in dispatch as part of their training.

77793111
0
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77793111 12/02/10 - 11:11 pm
0
0
8675309.....I really do think

8675309.....I really do think that your comment is down right rude! Instead of you trying to put us down why dont you come to the dispatch arena and walk in our shoes....I am pretty sure after ten minutes you would be ready to run back to your patrol car....deputies forget a lot of things just as well as we dispatchers...we are responsible for sometimes up to 20 deputies at one time, all who can yell out for help at any momment! We can say oh so much about you all but why bother....Just remember that we are horrible dispatchers who's performance is unnacceptable, especially when u hit that 32.....

fatboyhog
1987
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fatboyhog 12/03/10 - 12:23 am
0
0
AR, do you have your facts

AR, do you have your facts straight?? I don't think so. Wasson was a Captain on the Sheriff's Office. He became the 911 director after the commissioners took dispatch away from the fire department and the Sheriff. He may have been the Captain over the communications for the S.O., but the Sheriff did not make him 911 director because the Sheriff had no control over the 911 center. All the dispatchers became county employees, not Sheriff or Fire Department employees, as they were PRIOR to the creation of the 911 center.

And, how were you able to "predict" this without information leaked to you? You didn't really "predict" anything until the rumblings started.

AutumnLeaves
8071
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AutumnLeaves 12/03/10 - 12:34 am
0
0
The kitty, er, cat, isn't out

The kitty, er, cat, isn't out of the bag yet. Somebody needs to let it out and let a top dog in. Talk about going from the frying pan into the fire, at least until there is a qualified director to replace Wasson and the interim director, Catherine White aka Kitty Walker.

humbleopinion
0
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humbleopinion 12/03/10 - 02:17 am
0
0
Taylor B, if he runs for

Taylor B, if he runs for governor with the record he has it will surely be as a Democrat candidate. He's now qualified for a top position in the Obama administration.

humbleopinion
0
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humbleopinion 12/03/10 - 02:19 am
0
0
We also now have an

We also now have an indication of why our property taxes are so high....THIS is where OUR money is going. Straight down the toilet. $80k a year in pension? A pension HIGHER than his last salary? Ridiculous. Absolutely ridiculous.

bettyboop
7
Points
bettyboop 12/03/10 - 06:40 am
0
0
Wow!..Does this guy have a

Wow!..Does this guy have a wife..a family?..If so they must be so proud!

nana1996
0
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nana1996 12/03/10 - 06:41 am
0
0
I HAVE BEEN A DISPATCHER FOR

I HAVE BEEN A DISPATCHER FOR 24 YEARS AND ITS NOT AN EASY JOB,BUT I HAD PUT IN AN APPLICATION AT RICHMOND COUNTY LAST YEAR AND MORE OR LESS WAS TOLD I WASNT THE RIGHT COLOR FOR MR WASSON..I HEARD HE WOULD HIRE SOMEONE FROM WENDYS BEFOR HE WOULD HIRE A WHITE DISPATCHER WITH EXPERIENCE..ALWAYS REMEMBER WHAT GOES AROUND COMES AROUND GOD DOESNT LIKE UGLY...HAVE A NICE DAY

fatboyhog
1987
Points
fatboyhog 12/03/10 - 07:32 am
0
0
Humble, this plan (the old

Humble, this plan (the old city plan) has been in effect for YEARS..like since the 50's. And the old plan is a whole lot better than the new plan. I have no problem with paying public safety a decent retirement. And, I'm pretty sure that if you check around and ask the right people, you'll find that the old fund is 100% funded and not costing taxpayers anything.

Taylor B
5
Points
Taylor B 12/03/10 - 07:56 am
0
0
Humble, that was a shot at

Humble, that was a shot at Deal actually...

Austin Rhodes
2866
Points
Austin Rhodes 12/03/10 - 08:23 am
0
0
Fatboyhog... You are correct

Fatboyhog...

You are correct that the "title" of 911 director was given to Wasson by the Commission...but that was after he spent years as Webster's "communications director"...which was close to the same type of thing.

There was a reorganization of the department, but my point was that Webster kept Wasson around (truth be known he should have been fired by Freddie Lott at APD) after getting into WAY more trouble than one other veteran violent crimes officer I know, who just got caught with a simple DUI, and fired before he could retire. (That isn't good either...but it is not nearly as bad as what Wasson did)

As far as "predicting" any of this, there have been a number of city employees who have been "protected" over the years...and that protection seems to have run out for most of them. That was the basis for my "prediction", and I bet in a pretty short period of time, the rest of those "predictions" are gonna come to fruition as well...

One more thing...Wasson's participation in the old city pension fund is his good luck/good fortune/lottery ticket. That was a system that was set up the way a good pension plan is SUPPOSED to be set up, with a good base contribution plan, and wise investments that paid off handsomely for those who managed the funds. It also helped that there were a relatively small number of employees drawing from it. If ALL American pension plans had been managed the same way, retirees around the country would be far better off. Sadly...they were not.

lifelongresident
1323
Points
lifelongresident 12/03/10 - 08:57 am
0
0
if you are a dept head or
Unpublished

if you are a dept head or asst. dept head in ARC yu get paid very, very well whether you are competent at your job or not, any position lower than that you get peanuts......

justus4
103
Points
justus4 12/03/10 - 09:22 am
0
0
Now here's what gonna happen:
Unpublished

Now here's what gonna happen: Nothing... one or two stories about the RESULTS of something that happened and he's gone. Where were the constitutional-protected media to so-called "informed" the people prior to this guy flying the coop? They were MIA, as usual, because of one simple fact. Yep, U guessed it. But, let someone else of a different ethnicity been accused of such behavior and the story would have been repeated two hundred times in two weeks. It would have been on & on about speculations - but not in this case. Nothing new here, just more examples of failures to hold particular individuals accountable and how the efforts of so-called "media" are actually aiding.

fatboyhog
1987
Points
fatboyhog 12/03/10 - 09:25 am
0
0
Austin, at consolidation, the

Austin, at consolidation, the Sheriff had to move several people around and "create" positions for all the APD personnel. It is my understanding that the agreement was that no one was going to lose their job at consolidation. Besides, what Wasson did was on APD. Webster was supposed to fire him for an incident that occurred years earlier? I agree, he should have been firedby APD; turn your negativity towards Lott. I don't think a road supervisor/CID supervisor would enjoy being taken off their assignment and put over dispatch. (not that there is anything wrong with dispatching, but it would have been viewed as a "demotion", if you will).

I think I know what you are referencing about Sheriff Webster's "double standards" when it comes to the DUI reference. However, one was handled properly, one was not. APD messed up. Not the Sheriff. Politics come into play in every job. Heck, some of your sources got to where they are not necessarily because of knowledge, but because they were deemed "one of the boys". Are there times when people should get fired and they don't? Yes. It's happened time and time again, and continues to this day. Heck, some of your sources have probably messed enough to get terminated, yet they are still there.

Austin Rhodes
2866
Points
Austin Rhodes 12/03/10 - 09:42 am
0
0
FATBOY... You and I both know

FATBOY...

You and I both know that the Sheriff can terminate ANYONE for ANY REASON, if he doesn't want him serving. (as long as civil rights issues don't come into play). He could have run Wasson off by giving him any number of assignments...as a Constitutional officer, no one tells the Sheriff what to do...as far as politics goes...Webster was the top dog when he was there, so no one was going to give him a hard time for deep sixing Wasson.

...and my "sources" are so far spread among the sworn officers, staff, court officials, and elected officials that YES...I am sure there are a few black sheep among them. As long as what they tell me is TRUE...that is what matters. If any of my "sources" screw up publicly...and a few have...I don't treat them differently than anyone else...

Austin Rhodes
2866
Points
Austin Rhodes 12/03/10 - 10:05 am
0
0
OH...and there was nothing

OH...and there was nothing WRITTEN in the final consolidation agreement that promised any employee a job. I had to look that up recently. It was an URBAN LEGEND that there was was written mandate.

The proof in that pudding was Chief McClane being shuffled off 30 seconds after Sheriff Strength was sworn in.

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