For the second time in as many weeks, the Utah County Commission has refused to approve certain expenditures by former administrators of the Timpanogos Community Mental Health Center.
Commissioners withheld approval on Wednesday for a $3,900 long-distance phone bill commissioners believe includes numerous personal calls charged to the center's telephone credit card."That's a hell of a lot of out-of-state phone calls," said Commission Chairman Malcolm Beck. "I want them to go through the vouchers and make sure all the calls are legitimate. I don't think we should pay for personal calls."
According to the credit card bill, some officials continued using the card following their suspension from the center after the $3.5 million scandal broke in April.
The commission has been checking all expenditures since then to make sure money spent at the center is done so responsibly. Last week, commissioners refused to approve $8,904 in purchases made by former administrators on an American Express credit card account.
Some of the purchases appeared legitimate, but commissioners were livid over purchases of a personal computer and expensive dress shoes and sports clothing.
Commissioners say they will attempt to determine which calls were personal and then request payment from those making the calls.
"I couldn't believe we were paying the amount of money we were paying" in long-distance calls, Beck said. He said those using the telephone credit card apparently were told to use it the same way they were using the center's American Express credit card.
"They were told, `That's a bonus for working here. Use it how you want,' " Beck said. "Well, that won't happen again."
Long-distance charges included calls by former center director Glen Brown to Ricks College in Idaho and his home in American Fork while he was on vacation in Hawaii last March. Other calls were made to Florida and Michigan, and a $52 call was made from the Deanna Westwood residence to Colorado after she was suspended from the center in early May.
A legislative audit released in April showed that at least eight center administrators paid themselves more than $3.5 million above their base salaries the past four years. Part of the abuse of tax dollars included alleged double billing stemming from use of private credit cards.