Gov. Norm Bangerter's weekend woodshedding of public employees regarding misuse of public money at Timpanogos Community Mental Health Center is an insult to the vast majority of hard-working and honest rank-and-file public employees, the attorney for the Utah Public Employee Association contends.

L. Zane Gill said Monday he is drafting a letter demanding Bangerter apologize to public employees."For the governor to come out and say he feels it necessary to chastise all the merit-covered employees is an indiscriminate insult to thousands of employees," Gill said.

Last week, the legislative auditor general released a report alleging that eight top Timp Mental Health administrators had misused and pocketed as much as $3.5 million in taxpayer money over the last four years. On Saturday, Bangerter held a news conference announcing he was sending a letter to all state employees warning them such behavior will not be condoned.

Gill, who is also a Democratic candidate for attorney general, said Bangerter's comments are not fair because the improprieties at the center were all by management-level administrators rather than the merit-covered, rank-and-file state employees.

"I think the governor ought to apologize to those employees and ought to retract his warning letter," Gill said. "To indict by association such a large group of people who have proved their honesty, integrity and dedication is far beyond the realm of acceptable behavior."