The crisis at Timpanogos Community Mental Health Center may be over, but the healing process is going to take some time. And Timp Mental Health Authority board members say the selection of Don Muller as executive director will be a big part of that process.
According to Utah County Commissioner Gary Anderson, Muller is "the man to heal any wounds and lead Timp Mental Health through troubled times. He is a very capable administrator, a proven success and knows the mental health industry inside and out. We are looking forward to some real fine things."Muller said his top priority is to respond to the center's funding partners and let them feel at ease. He also plans to move forward at the center in a way that will re-establish the community's confidence.
The new director will take over the reins at the center Aug. 1. He has been a director of quality assurance with the state Division of Mental Health for 18 years and is a certified clinician.
"Certainly my challenge is to put to rest the turmoil experienced at the mental health center," Muller said. He is replacing Glen Brown, the center's former executive director who resigned April 18 following allegations he and seven other Timp officials misused more than $3.5 million in public funds.
For the past 90 days Muller has worked as interim deputy director with Interim Director David Dangerfield. Both men have been part of an interim management team organized by the Timp Mental Health Authority board to pinpoint the problem areas at the center and corrective actions to take.
Muller said he will follow through with suggestions made by the interim management team and make some reassignments, shuffle staff and re design several programs.
"It will be a year down the road before we will feel we have safely accomplished what we need to at the center."
He has already met with the staff to discuss the challenges they face and said they will work together to overcome the problems at the center.
He said Timp Mental Health is very close to signing a contract with Utah Valley Regional Medical Center for inpatient services. The new service at the hospital will put the center back in compliance with mental health standards.
Muller said he had no idea up until the last moment whether or not he would be selected, but felt a heavy responsibility once the decision was made.
"I think we have a responsibility to the citizens of Wasatch, Summit and Utah Counties to assure them that we will be responsible to their mental health needs," he said.
The Timp Mental Health Authority board announced Muller as the new director Wednesday. The board spent 14 hours interviewing the top five candidates on Tuesday. Muller was selected from 120 applicants. A screening committee narrowed down that number to 50, then 15 and finally five.
Muller, his wife Liz, and their eight children will relocate to Utah County at the request of the Authority board.