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Burlington airport director under fire, mayor calls for him to resign

Published: Aug. 25, 2021 at 4:41 PM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Burlington’s Mayor Miro Weinberger is calling for Airport Director Gene Richards to resign.

Richards was placed on administrative leave at the end of June, following a complaint to human resources and a city investigation.

The mayor says that Richards misused airport gas to fill his own vehicle and yelled and swore at airport employees.

WCAX News learned that the mayor met with Richards and asked him to leave, but Richards refused to resign.

The mayor released a statement saying, “the mistreatment of city employees documented in this investigation is unacceptable and Mr. Richards can no longer serve the city in a leadership role.”

The mayor suspended Richards without pay and calls for a termination hearing before the City Council.

Richards tells WCAX News, that he is “very disappointed in the Mayor’s recommendation and saddened by his direction.” Richards disputes that he misused fuel and points to the investigation that says there is insufficient evidence of that. Richards says his personal car is his airport car and had the authority to use the fuel card. Richards also questions the investigation process and claims there was a lack of transparency that he was kept in the dark about the allegations.

He says his record quote is the success of the Burlington airport. Richards says the only thing he’s guilty of is running a tight ship and holding employees accountable when they needed to be. Whether he keeps running the airport will likely be determined at the city council meeting on Sept. 9.

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