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Wayne Township takes steps to fire former fire chief

Mike Lang, who is now a Captain with the Wayne Township Fire Department, was convicted in June 2022 of a misdemeanor charge of Conflict of Interest
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Posted at 7:42 AM, May 05, 2023

INDIANAPOLIS — Wayne Township is taking steps to terminate its former fire chief after a WRTV Investigation raised questions about compensation he received through a nonprofit contract.

Mike Lang, who is now a Captain with the Wayne Township Fire Department, was convicted in June 2022 of a misdemeanor charge of Conflict of Interest.

The charge will likely be expunged in June 2023 because Mike Lang has paid $31,939 in restitution to the taxpayers.

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.

Effective immediately, Captain Lang was placed on paid administrative leave pending a decision of the Wayne Township Merit Commission.

“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. “Recovering taxpayer dollars and restoring trust in the department remain our top priority.”

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Lang has five business days to request a hearing of the Wayne Township Merit Commission. If he requests a hearing, the commission will hold public hearing within 30 business days.

The Wayne Township Merit Commission’s final decision is subject to judicial review, meaning Captain Lang could seek relief through the court system, according to Harris.

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.”