Supervisors were correct in firing legal secretary Debra Sauers from the Salt Lake County attorney's office, a grievance council has decided.
Bob Adams, chairman of the Career Service Council, said Monday that Sauers had been warned several times to do better work.The council rejected Sauers' argument she was targeted because of her involvement with fellow secretary Shauna Clark, who had filed a $1.2 million civil suit against the county and former County Attorney Ted L. Cannon.
"Out of all the cases I've heard, this is one of the most difficult," Adams said, noting it also was one of the longest, lasting more than a month.
The council is an independent tribunal that hears grievances from county employees and has the power to reinstate jobs. Sauers can appeal the decision to 3rd District Court.
Sauers and Clark were the victims listed in forcible sexual abuse indictments handed up against Cannon by a grand jury in 1986. Sauers and her attorney, Gerry D'Elia, claimed County Attorney David Yocom had a vendetta against Sauers.
Yocom denied the claim but was never asked to testify during the hearing.
Deputy County Attorney Jerry Campbell, who represented the county during the hearing, said Sauers was a disrupter who set herself up to be fired. He said she was capable of working much faster than she did and was not willing to correct mistakes.
He said one of her mistakes led to a suspect's spending 20 days in jail needlessly.
Sauers claimed she was asked to do jobs that were impossible to accomplish and was punished for doing the same things as others.
Adams and other members of the council declined to discuss specifics of the case until they give a written copy of their decision to both sides later this week. He said the decision was based solely on the evidence and testimony presented and stressed that the council is independent from the county.
"It does bother me personally that people will read into the decision things that are not there," he said.
The case took on a greater meaning because D'Elia was a former prosecutor who believed Yocom had demoted him because of his support for Yocom's opponent in the 1986 election.
Yocom argued he had not demoted D'Elia when he transferred him, but D'Elia resigned and started a private practice in Park City.