Seven administrators and program directors at Timpanogos Community Mental Health Center have been suspended following allegations of mismanagement and misuse of public funds.
The suspensions were announced Tuesday after a meeting between County Commissioner Gary Anderson and Summit County Commissioner Ron Robinson, who make up the Timp Mental Health board of directors, along with Wasatch County Commissioner Larry Duke. Duke did not attend the meeting."We have nothing so far to substantiate any of the allegations we've received," Anderson said. "But we have enough concern that we're entering into an audit. There are allegations that, if proven, would merit at least the termination of some employees."
Anderson declined to comment on the allegations until the audit is completed, but said the board may select an interim director for Timp Mental Health. He said the county's auditing office is working with the Legislative Auditor's Office five-man auditing team.
"We don't know yet what exactly we've got," he said. "We don't know what's there."
Anderson did say, however, that auditors are taking a close look at Timp Mental Health management, practices and use of state funds. He said the suspensions don't necessarily mean those suspended are guilty of any crime, and that the audit is needed to provide the board with an independent report.
"We may not find anything," he said, adding that previous audits turned up no irregularities. "There were no red flags."
Anderson said the board has hired attorney Jackson Howard rather than use Timp Mental Health attorney Robert Moody. He said the action was taken to avoid a possible conflict of interest.
Auditors began looking into the allegations more than a week ago, and the audit is expected to be done within the next week. Anderson said board members are scheduled to meet Tuesday and take further action following release of audit results.
If the audit reveals mismanagement but not misuse of public funds, Anderson said, local officials will take corrective measures. However, if a criminal investigation is warranted, county officials will call in the Utah attorney general's office.
"There is no criminal investigation pending at this time," said County Attorney Steve Killpack. But if the audit reveals the need for such an investigation, "that investigation should be conducted by the attorney general's office since the funds in question are state funds."
But even if a criminal investigation is not warranted, Anderson said, the public trust may have been violated.
"We're going to make sure things are done in the way they're supposed to be done," he said. "Criminality is not the only public offense."
Officials suspended with pay, pending outcome of the audit, include Timp Mental Health Director Glen Brown, financial officer Craig Stevens and program director Carl Smith. The names of four other suspended officials were to be released Wednesday.