The director of Utah's Asian Affairs office was fired because he couldn't get along with his supervisors, according to state officials.
But Michael Wu said Monday he believes he was fired because he recently took an eight-day vacation to campaign full-time for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ted Wilson.Wu's dismissal shortly after Wilson lost to incumbent Gov. Norm Bangerter last week already has drawn fire from Wilson, who called a news conference Friday to say the firing was "political retribution." Wilson said Wu was released without any explanation.
But Alice Shearer, deputy director of the Community Development Division and the person who fired Wu, issued a statement Monday saying Wu was dismissed because he did not cooperate well with her and other people within the division.
"Call it a difference in management style or what you will, the relationship has progressively deteriorated with no end in sight," Shearer said. "For that reason, I recommended Mr. Wu's dismissal, a recommendation sanctioned by my supervisors."
Wu, who recently became a U.S. citizen and said he felt a need to become politically active, was originally hired by former Gov. Scott Matheson, a Democrat. Contacted at his home, Wu said he believes the people Bangerter appointed in the division viewed him as an enemy.
Wu believed he should report directly to the governor, not to supervisors within the division.
"I had said if the situation didn't change I would have to resign," he said.
Because he is a political appointee, Wu could be fired without any formal means of protest. He said he was fired through a memo from Shearer.
"It was legal, but it's a matter of professional courtesy," he said, explaining why he was disappointed with the dismissal.