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Centreville board votes to dismiss Public Works Director
CENTREVILLE, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - A village board voted to fire its Public Works Director following a Newschannel 3 I-Team investigation.
Randy Baker is now the former Public Works Director for the Village of Centreville.
He's been accused of stealing public property by at least two people.
Last week, the Village Board requested Baker's resignation, but he refused.
Since then, the St. Joseph County Sheriff's Office has opened an investigation, following multiple criminal complaints from citizens.
It all started over two tanks of gas, but we have receipts and logs from the Village of Centreville showing a serious problem either with theft, bookkeeping, or both.
Last week's vote to terminate Baker was defeated when Centreville Village President Eric Weis voted 'no,' creating a 3-3 tie.
This week's vote was a decisive 6-0 decision.
After the meeting, trustee Jeff Johnson was the only board member who would answer our questions.
Those complaints, which the Sheriff's Office is still investigating, are based on two alleged thefts--one of which Baker confessed to, but we found far more than two tanks of gas missing from the village's thousand-gallon tanks.
Johnson described it as "negligence on somebody's part; whose I don't know, because he wasn't the only one to have a key."
Gas receipts and a check with Murphey Oil Company shows us that since February 10 of last year, nearly 3,800 gallons of gasoline were pumped from the tank.
But village fuel logs through December only account for a little more than 2,250.
We're still waiting for the village to provide us with this year's fuel logs.
Regardless of what they say, there are at least 780, and possibly as many as 1,530 gallons of gas unaccounted for in the last year alone.
"You can't evaporate that much, that's for sure," Johnson said. "You might spill some on the ground, but it wouldn't be that much. I don't know where it went. I have no idea."
Following the meeting, the Village President rushed out the door, refusing to answer our questions.
And Baker didn't want to talk either.
The St. Joseph County Sheriff's Office says it will be getting fuel records from the Village of Centreville as well for its criminal investigation of Baker.
The Undersheriff says he expects the report to be handed over to the prosecutor by the end of the week.