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Employee who resigned is back with SLOC

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Another high-ranking employee of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee who resigned after Frank Joklik became the boss of the 2002 Winter Games last year has returned.

Gordon Crabtree, who'd been the organizing committee's top financial official for nearly two years when he stepped down last fall, was named director of finance for SLOC on Thursday.Crabtree had been working for the organizing committee as a consultant on a number of financial issues. In his new job, he will report to SLOC Chief Financial Officer Mark Tanner.

His hiring comes a week after lawmakers passed him over for a state post. Crabtree, a former state finance director, had been considered a front-runner to succeed longtime Legislative Fiscal Analyst Leo Memmott.

Tanner said Thursday he'd been talking to Crabtree about the job for months. "We though we were going to lose Gordon to the state," Tanner said. "I think this is terrific."

Crabtree's return to SLOC as a full-time employee comes just a couple of weeks after the organizing's committee's federal relations director made a similar decision.

Like Crabtree, Cindy Gillespie was a senior vice president when she resigned her position in April 1998. After working as a consultant for SLOC, she announced she'd changed her mind and was returning to her post.

When they left, both Crabtree and Gillespie cited the intense pressure of working for an Olympic organizing committee. Those pressures included a new boss.

Joklik took over the job of president and chief executive officer from longtime Olympics leader Tom Welch, who resigned after being charged with spouse abuse.

Crabtree said last year that having someone new in charge of the Olympics "puts stress and tension on everyone," but stopped short of blaming Joklik for his decision to resign.

Thursday, Crabtree said he and Joklik have worked well together on several projects, including a major deal with Olympics sponsor Nationsbank that will enable SLOC to borrow up to $170 million.

"Frank and I are very much on the same page when it comes to business issues," Crabtree told the Deseret News Thursday. "He understands me and I understand him."

Crabtree also said he had no problem accepting a lower-ranking post. "It really is a team effort," he said, with everyone focused on getting ready for 2002 "not worrying about who reports to who."

He said his new salary is "not at all" close to the $197,000-plus he was earning as a senior vice president. Crabtree, who gave up a $27,000-a-year pension when he resigned, was making $9,500 a month as a consultant for SLOC.

When he was first hired by SLOC in 1995, Crabtree oversaw everything from the $1 billion-plus budget to hiring. Now, he'll focus on contract administration, procurement, risk management and centralized office services.

That should take some of the pressure off, Crabtree said. "The bottom line is, absolutely it will be less," he said. "There's still plenty to do but it's not as overwhelming or overly demanding."

Organizers are in the midst of a major budget overhaul that's expected to be completed in September and made public in October. The shift from a traditional annual budget to a project-based one was already underway when Crabtree quit.

He's planned to have the new budget completed by 1999, but Joklik wanted it done sooner. Since Crabtree left, organizers decided to spend $750,000 on a consultant to help with the new budget.