Two former Timpanogos Community Mental Health Center employees say they have been treated unfairly by officials associated with Timp Mental Health and are asking the Utah County Career Service Council for their jobs back.
Allen Fife and Jim Schwartz, both program directors at the center, were suspended by the Timp Mental Health Authority Board April 5 after they and six other administrators were listed by legislative auditors as the highest compensated employees in 1987.Carl Smith, Craig Stephens and Glen Brown, top administrators who headed up the list in the audit report, resigned two weeks after their suspension from the center.
The remaining five were terminated by the authority board, but three requested hearings to appeal the board's decision. Fife and Schwartz were two of them. Dr. Richard Spencer was the third and was eventually reinstated.
The legislative audit lists Fife as making $99,431. for the year. His base salary was $41,572, his car allowance was $5,122 and his contract earnings amounted to $52,737.
Schwartz made $84,597. His base salary was $33,966 and $50,631 was added for contract earnings.
The pair's attorney, Michael D. Esplin, said neither Fife nor Schwartz had a credit card allowance and Schwartz did not have a car allowance. He said both men were justified in what they received from the center and had no choice in what contracts they accepted.
"They had no say in the procedure," he said. "They were simply told what to do. Contract duties were assigned by their superiors. They were not part of the decision-making group."
Esplin said Fife's car allowance was a reasonable amount because he administered programs in Salt Lake City, Bountiful and Sandy and traveled often to those facilities.
"It's been a political decision rather than from the merits of the case," he said. "The center is guilty of discriminatory practice in the way they dealt with the case."
Utah County Commissioner Gary Anderson, chairman of the authority board, said commissioners from Wasatch, Summit and Utah counties spent a great deal of time discussing the matter when Fife and Schwartz appeared before them in a board hearing in May.
Even though the Timp Mental Health interim management team recommended that the authority board reinstate Schwartz, board members decided to stay with their decision to terminate Fife and Schwartz because they were part of the upper level management at the center.
Esplin said his clients also are asking for their jobs back and for back pay and benefits. He said there is no reason to believe that they will not rule in his clients' favor, but if they do not, "we are prepared to go further."
Esplin said a lawsuit will be filed for damages caused from loss of reputation if the Career Service Council does not approve their reinstatement.
"They are happy to come back on base salary as long as their duties are reduced," he said. "There is no doubt that they earned the money they made."