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Convicted ex-Wayne Twp Fire Chief will stay on until 2024 & retire as part of verbal settlement agreement

Wayne Township has reached a verbal agreement with its former chief, Mike Lang
Posted at 1:19 PM, Jun 06, 2023
and last updated 2023-06-06 17:15:11-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Wayne Township has reached a verbal settlement agreement with its former chief, Mike Lang, who was convicted in June 2022 of a misdemeanor charge of Conflict of Interest.

Lang, who is now a Captain with the Wayne Township Fire Department, will be demoted to a firefighter and will take a pay cut, according to Jeff Harris, a spokesperson for Wayne Township.

The verbal settlement agreement comes just one day before Lang was scheduled to appear before the Wayne Township Merit Commission.

As part of the agreement, Lang will retire in August 2024 at the age of 52 and will be able to access his retirement benefits.

Previously, the township announced it was taking steps to terminate Lang.

A WRTV Investigation raised questions about compensation he received through a nonprofit contract.

The Conflict of Interest criminal charge will likely be expunged later this month because Mike Lang has paid $31,939 in restitution to the taxpayers.

As part of the verbal agreement that allows Lang to stay employed, he also agrees to cooperate with any future investigations into his time at the department.

In July of 2022, newly elected Wayne Township Trustee Jeb Bardon removed Mike Lang from his role as Wayne Township Fire Chief.

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Following an investigation into his time as Chief of the Wayne Township Fire Department, on May 4, 2023, Captain Mike Lang was notified in writing and in person that Wayne Township Fire Chief Marcus Reed has recommended to the Wayne Township Merit Commission that he be terminated as a merit employee of the department.

“While we cannot comment on the specifics of a pending employment matter before the merit commission, Wayne Township conducted a thorough investigation and worked for months to uncover information that lead to this recommendation,” said Jeff Harris, Wayne Township spokesperson in a statement in May 2023. “Recovering taxpayer dollars and restoring trust in the department remain our top priority.”

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WRTV reached out to Lang for comment and we are still waiting to hear back.

Lang released the following statement to the Wayne Township Fire Department last year.

"Over the past year, in addition to working with the Indiana State Board of Accounts for the Township and Corporation’s audit, I have also been providing subpoenaed information for an investigation by the Marion County Prosecutor's Office. After consultation with my attorney, I have accepted the fact that while operating as the President of Wayne Township Fire Department, Inc., I should have filed the necessary form to disclose a conflict of interest. This oversight is my own fault, as the conflict of interest laws have changed since my start in that position in 2001. I will be resigning from the corporation board as soon as the state audit and all actions have been completed to fulfill the funding being returned to the township. Contrary to the rumor mill, all donated funds are still available for their intended purposes.”