About a year ago, Timpanogos Mental Health Center workers were told to start buying their own tissues.
Mental health worker Kathi Dunn uses a lot, because patients and their families frequently shed tears while she talks with them in her office."They just told us that we were not going to be dispensed Kleenexes anymore because of budget cutbacks," Dunn said.
It didn't last. Employees are getting tissue through the center again, but the episode has become something of a joke among employees, who still are recovering from the shock of learning some of their top administrators misused more than $3.5 million of the center's money the past four years.
Dunn, who hasn't gotten a merit pay increase in more than four years, said she has been careful with the center's financial resources for years, because she believed they were severely limited. She worked to find free activities for patients to participate in and had faith that the administrators she trusted were doing their best with the budget.
" `Shocked' is a good word for the way we feel. I was out there with my nose to the grindstone," she said. "I feel kind of betrayed. Our administrators always told us there was no money."
That's why employees didn't complain much about the dilapidated facilities, said Nylene Wright, a mental health worker at Timp's day center for outpatients. Now employees are looking at every broken table and chair with disgust.
There are a lot of broken things at the day center. Some tables are held up with bricks. Chairs have books stashed under them for proper balance.
Two case workers are crammed into every small office at the center, making it difficult to find any privacy.