Two former Timpanogos Community Mental Health Center administrators, charged with misusing public funds at the center, made their first official appearance in 4th Circuit Court Friday.

Carl V. Smith, 41, and Craig W. Stephens, 34, appeared before 4th Circuit Judge Joseph I. Dimick. Glen R. Brown, 62, was excused because he appeared earlier this month. The preliminary hearing is scheduled for Jan. 17 in the Orem Circuit Court.Smith, Stephens and Brown went before Dimick Nov. 3 with a request for a change of venue.

Dimick granted the change of venue, moving their trial to 3rd Circuit Court in Salt Lake County, but this week 3rd Circuit Judge Floyd Gowans refused jurisdiction and the case was sent back to Utah County.

"The 3rd Circuit Court declined the case, saying the provisions do not apply to the change of venue," Dimick said. "This court disagrees, but we must take it and vacate the Nov. 3 order."

Max Wheeler, Stephen's attorney, said, "One (circuit court) judge can't overrule another. This was a surprise to everybody. We don't believe he has the authority to do what he did. It was done without advising anyone."

Brown, Smith and Stephens face 117 felony counts for the alleged theft of $3.5 million in public funds. Criminal charges were filed against the men by the Utah attorney general's office Oct. 28. after a six-month investigation.