Bremerton’s Mayor Wheeler fires public works director

Martin’s termination was the result of a workplace misconduct violation

Mayor Greg Wheeler (File photo)

Mayor Greg Wheeler (File photo)

Bremerton Mayor Greg Wheeler terminated Chal Martin, the city’s public works and utilities director, on Wednesday.

No reason was given for his dismissal aside from a note that martin was terminated “for cause” following an internal investigation into workplace misconduct. City of Bremerton engineer Tom Knuckey has been named as the interim director, according to a press release from the city.

“I have confidence in Thomas Knuckey’s ability to provide a high level of oversight and service of the Department of Public Works & Utilities during this time,” Wheeler said in the release.

The redacted report, obtained by Kitsap News Group, details six separate allegations involving the purchase of a city dump truck, using city resources to acquire an excavator for personal use, conducting personal business on city time and an unauthorized sale of vehicle parts. Two other allegations appear to have been completely redacted in the report.

Felicia Brown of the City Finance Department was interviewed by the Bremerton Police Department regarding the sale of two excavators from Tractorhill Sales in January 2017. According to the report, the transaction was stopped by the city’s finance department. The attempted transaction was referred to as the “game plan” in messages between staff at Tractorhill Sales and another unnamed person.

Martin, in his January interview with city officials, stated that he had not seen nor was he aware of the “game plan” correspondence.

Martin was hired in 2012 as the director of the Public Works Department under Bremerton’s previous mayor, Patty Lent. In October, Wheeler also dismissed fire chief David Schmitt without any explanation.

“I am focused on restoring public trust and ensuring all employees follow city policies,” Wheeler said in an email.

“The City of Bremerton will continue with investigations into previous practices outlined in the report. I will continue to take action as necessary based on the findings.”

More to follow as information becomes available.

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