Newly retired 911 director was on unpaid leave

'Inappropriate relationship' led to scrutiny
Phil Wasson

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.

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.

911 chief hangs up career of 38 years

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