Former Utah Education Association president Jim Campbell said Saturday he has agreed to reimburse the UEA for some expenses the group says he owes them rather than take them to court.
According to a statement issued Friday by the group, the UEA said the discrepancies were uncovered by an audit after Campbell left office. But Campbell said those discepancies showed up because he was in the hospital and didn't have a chance to meet with UEA officials to explain them."At the time I resigned I had no time to reconcile my expense and reimbursement accounts," he said. "When it became apparent that the necessary information would not be voluntarily provided by UEA, I called for an inside audit of the books."
Campbell said that instead of providing the requested information, the UEA issued a press release stating there had been problems with his accounts. "And this all occurred when I was in the hospital and had no opportunity to respond.
"Now, finally, after five or six weeks, an (accounting) was done and it showed, among other things, UEA had never paid me my per diem for in-state travel allowances as promised. My calculations show that UEA owed me a substantial amount of money." Campbell wouldn't elaborate on the exact dollar amount.
"But I was denied the opportunity to meet with the UEA Board of Directors and explain the fact that UEA refused to reimburse me for my per diem and also tell the board that all expenses, per diems and reimbursements that have been paid over the past 33 months were approved by the UEA executive directors. Rather than pursue my legal rights, I have agreed to be paid on a basis different from that originally agreed upon."
The UEA statement issued to members Friday said Campbell agreed to make restitution and the matter is resolved. Current president Beth Beck said the amount is significant, but also declined to say exactly how much money is involved.
"A review of James M. Campbell's account by an independent auditor brought forth proof of double vouchering, inappropriate use of the UEA credit card and removal of UEA property for personal use," the UEA statement said.
"Mr. Campbell has agreed to make restitution and to return or make payment for UEA property removed from the premises.
"All concerns and questions concerning Jim Campbell and UEA have been resolved," according to the statement.
Campbell said they have come to an amenable agreement and he will take care of what the UEA says he owes them.
"I paid for the things I owed UEA and I'm really disappointed that UEA failed to keep their promise," Campbell said. "Part of the problem is an obvious lack of proper policies and procedures. This lack has allowed people to misconstrue and misrepresent the facts in order to get political advantage in UEA."
Campbell, a former art teacher at Timpview High School, resigned as UEA head earlier this year, citing health and personal reasons.
He was under heavy criticism from some members who charged he did not get a good enough pay and appropriations package from the state Legislature during the 1990 session.
Beck took over as interim UEA leader and last week, a new president, Lilia Eskelsen, was elected.