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Mental health board to hold hearings on director’s fate

SHARE Mental health board to hold hearings on director’s fate

Davis Mental Health Center Board members plan to hold hearings to determine whether they should fire embattled director Dr. Russell Williams.

The board is proceeding cautiously, "making sure every T is crossed and every I is dotted," said board member Read Hellewell.A state audit concluded Williams received $29,500 in "excess salary" and allegedly made $80,000 by double billing and filing fictional expense claims over a three-year period.

Williams was placed on paid administrative leave Nov. 17 when the audit was released.

Hellewell said Davis Mental Health will adhere to the center's misconduct policy, which is the same as Davis County's policy, while reviewing the allegations.

The first step will be for the board to send notice to Williams of the allegations. Williams then has a right to appear before the board and respond to the allegations.

Williams couldn't be reached for comment Wednesday. He said last week that he expects to return to his job.

Dave Connors, an attorney who has been retained to help the board comply with the audit's recommendations, said that Williams is considered a merit employee and therefore the board cannot terminate him without cause.

The state Attorney General's Office has been investigating possible criminal charges.

Deputy Attorney General Reed Richards said his office has had two meetings with the auditors.

"We've now received all the material and we're beginning the review of all the working papers," Richards said, adding it will be several months before they conclude their investigation.

Connors said that the board will not hold off its hearing process to see if criminal charges are filed.