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Timpanogos Community Mental Health Center is the subject of a wage payment inquiry recently launched by the U.S. Department of Labor, the center's executive director says.

The inquiry, which began about two weeks ago, concerns the manner in which Timpanogos paid its employees in the past, said Timpanogos executive director Don Muller."They want to look at our wage and hour rules to see if our people were employed and paid correctly," Muller said. "They are particularly concerned with overtime payments."

Ruth Bauman, area director working out of the Department of Labor's Salt Lake City office, would not be available for comment until Monday, a department staffer said.

Muller called it a "routine" inquiry, but it still "presents a concern" to center officials.

The central question involves certain projects the center contracted out for a set dollar amount. Utah County Commissioner Brent Morris said the Department of Labor may find Timpanogos owes some employees back overtime wages above the already paid contracts.

The potential of having to come up with money for back wages "would be just another financial pressure on the center," Muller said.

Morris said such a finding would have a "severe impact" on the center.

"Every penny is already budgeted every year. I don't know what kind of a dollar amount they would be talking about, but if that were the ruling (the center owes back wages), there would be no place to go and get the money," Morris said.

However, Muller petitioned the department to delay its investigation until June, pending the completion of several other audits of Timpanogos' records.