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Newspaper: Salt Lake Fleet Manager was Fired

Newspaper: Salt Lake Fleet Manager was Fired



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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Citing several anonymous sources, a newspaper reported Saturday that Salt Lake County fired the manager of a vehicle fleet that touched off a string of scandals.

Nick Morgan, whose 30-day paid administrative leave expired Friday, was issued a list of a dozen violations, The Salt Lake Tribune reported, including allegations of excessive mileage on fleet cars, poor management of the county's Rapid Rotation Program and improper use of office resources and personnel.

Mayor Peter Corroon's office would only issue a statement saying, "We cannot talk about personnel issues."

Morgan refused to comment on the situation.

Last year, the county's fleet operation became the centerpiece of scandals that led to criminal charges against the then-chief financial officer and the eventual resignation of Auditor Craig Sorensen.

The imbroglio prompted a six-month probe by a citizen review panel, whose five members released a report alleging the county's vehicle program was poorly managed and overfunded by $9 million. The issue remained a factor throughout a hotly contested county mayoral race, which then-Mayor Nancy Workman exited in October after she was charged with felony misuse of public money on a separate issue.

Workman was acquitted of the charges in February, but dropped her bid for re-election because of that case.

Also on Friday, the fleet operation's internal services director, Hoang Q. Nguyen, who was also on administrative leave, was terminated amid allegations of improper use of county resources, sources told the Tribune.

Morgan and Nguyen can appeal their terminations.

Attempts by the Tribune to reach Nguyen Friday were unsuccessful.

Since the scandal, county officials have overhauled the 2,200-vehicle operation, selling scores of cars, eliminating some take-home use, swapping SUVs for sedans and adding hybrids.

Morgan was placed on administrative leave May 5. Specific reasons never were disclosed, but sources told the Tribune it focused on allegations of falsified travel records and inappropriate use of county computers and staffers.

Back then, Public Works Director John Patterson said the allegations are "numerous" and "serious." Patterson could not be reached Friday.

Morgan, who was asked to leave his fleet office May 5, has previously denied wrongdoing.

"There's nothing there," he told The Tribune in May.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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