Mental health terminates administrators

Grievance process beginning



Eastern Montana Community Mental Health Center’s Executive Director Frank Lane, his wife, Office Manager Pearl Lane, and their daughter, Deputy Director and Counselor Pam Colombik, were terminated on June 6.

As a result, two temporary co-directors have been appointed to keep the center running smoothly.

Frank Lane worked at the center for more than 40 years, and Pearl Lane and Pam Colombik had been employed by the center for more than 20 years each. 

Attorney Eric Holm of Sather and Holm PLLC in Billings is representing them.

Holm said he felt the action was in violation of several laws, and “these folks worked there for a long time” and did not deserve this.

They have begun the grievance process, which is the first step in making an objection, he said. No lawsuit has been filed at this time, and he wants the issue to work its way out through the grievance process. 

The question of filing a lawsuit will depend on how the grievance process works out, he said. 

He said rumors of embezzlement being a factor in the termination “are absolutely false.” 

Board president Janet Wolff of Circle said she could not comment on the situation and referred comments to their lawyer, whom they have not obtained yet.

She could say that Linda Mehlhoff (business manager of the administrative office) and Jeff Regan, (program coordinator of the Comprehensive School and Community Treatment Program) have been chosen as temporary co-directors of the center.

Established in 1967, the center provides comprehensive mental health and substance abuse treatment services and covers 17 counties: Custer, Fallon, Daniels, Powder River, Richland, Prairie, Garfield, Roosevelt, Rosebud, Dawson, Valley, Sheridan, Carter, McCone, Treasurer, Phillips and Wibaux.

It has multiple offices across that area.