Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
(Steve Griffin | Tribune File Photo) Utah state archaeologist Kevin Jones was laid off from the Utah Department of Community and Culture in June.
Archaeologist blocked in appeal of job loss
Employment dispute » Kevin Jones says he was forced out; the state says he retired.
First Published Feb 03 2012 08:41 pm • Last Updated Apr 11 2012 11:23 pm

Former State Archaeologist Kevin Jones cannot challenge the loss of his state job last summer in a restructuring at the Utah Department of Community and Culture.

An officer of the Utah Career Service Review Office ruled Thursday that he has no jurisdiction in the case because Jones chose to retire before he could be terminated in a reduction of force.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

"By resigning and subsequently retiring," said the decision by administrator Robert W. Thompson, Jones "avoided the negative consequences to his accrued leave and benefits that would have occurred had he been RIF’d.

"Simply stated, [Jones’] resignation negated the agency need to either implement its proposed RIF or, more specifically, involuntarily separate [Jones] from his employment on Aug. 1, 2011."

Jones said Friday he was not surprised that DCC has continued to deny that it "blackmailed and bullied him" into moving on.

Thompson heard oral arguments from both sides Jan. 19, with Utah Assistant Attorney General David Pena representing the DCC and Jones representing himself.

For Jones, the quarrel about his departure from state government is a matter of personal and professional pride, as well as a legal matter. For the state, it is an issue of Jones’ employment status after the overhaul of the archaeology program last summer.

At the time, Michael Hansen, then acting department director, said cuts mandated by the state Legislature forced him to eliminate the three-person antiquities team, including Jones and the position of state archaeologist. Hansen later rehired one of the three employees to a newly created position of physical anthropologist, but he rejected Jones’ appeal of his June 21 termination.

A 22-year employee, Jones said the actions cost him about $300,000 in salary and future retirement income.

"They can’t produce a document that says I resigned," Jones said in an interview Friday. "I never told my employers, ‘I am resigning.’ "


story continues below
story continues below

The attorney for DCC had argued Jones was not eligible to have his case reviewed administratively because he chose to leave state employment. He also said the archaeologist’s departure was handled as it was — he was officially put on administrative leave in June until the end of July — to allow him to reach age 60 and qualify for key retirement benefits before officially leaving his job.

Last week’s ruling acknowledged Jones’ decision was "clearly unpleasant," but not proof that his departure was involuntary.

Jones said he is considering his options, which could include a court fight. "I’m not sure what I’m going to do," he said.

fahys@sltrib.com

Twitter: @judyfutah



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.