VERNAL — A former Uintah County road boss who said he was fired because he reported inferior road work and other alleged wrongdoing on the part of the county has won his nearly 3-year-old whistle-blower claim.
Eighth District Judge John R. Anderson has ruled that Vernal resident John Kay is entitled to receive 90 days in wages, medical expenses and insurance premiums incurred since January 2002. He also was awarded attorneys fees. Exact amounts are being tabulated, said Kay's attorney Ray Martineau.
In the bench-trial decision, Anderson concluded that Kay was fired by Uintah County commissioners Dave Haslem, Lloyd Swain and Cloyd Harrison in January 2002 for reporting inferior road work. He said that Kay's letter of termination was unexpected and included nothing of substance to justify the dismissal.
Kay said the commissioners had never voiced complaints or concerns with the job he had done from April 2001 to his firing in January 2002.
Kay filed suit against the county in March 2002, citing the whistle-blower act. He claimed his reports of serious engineering and surveying defects on the Dry Fork Bridge and other alleged road problems including wasteful spending were the real reasons he was fired from the position he held for nine months.
Kay didn't win on all counts. Anderson dismissed Kay's claim that county commissioners misappropriated over $600,000 to have the rarely traveled Stanton Road paved for Swain's benefit.