Scottville mayor resigns following arrest

March 12, 2013

000018905Baxter , JosephUPDATED

SCOTTVILLE — Scottville Mayor Joe Baxter has turned in his resignation effective immediately following his arrest earlier today.

Baxter was arrested for violating the terms of his court sentence in which he was found guilty of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of liquor.

Scottville Police Chief Mark Barnett confirmed that he and Sgt. Jason Williams arrested Baxter this morning.

“The Scottville Police Department received information that Mayor Joe Baxter was possibly violating the terms of his sentencing,” Barnett said. “An officer followed up and made an observation confirming the violation and followed up by making a police report. I reviewed that report and turned it over to the court which issued a bench warrant for his arrest.”

The terms of the sentencing included not allowing the purchase or consumption of alcohol for one year.

Last week Baxter made a no contest plea to the charges that stemmed from an Oct. 18, 2012 traffic crash in which he drove his truck into a ravine at the end of East Second Street in Scottville. Last week he received a $1,145 fine along with 93 days discretionary jail time, meaning he would not spend time in jail unless the court deemed it necessary.

This morning 79th District Court Judge Pete Wadel sentenced Baxter to seven days in the county jail. He also amended the terms of Baxter’s sentence to include that he must submit to random portable breathalyzer tests from a police officer, upon request. The original sentence also required him to attend the Victim’s Impact Panel in April and to not purchase or consume alcohol.

Mayor Pro-Tem Richard Maki has assumed the duties of interim mayor. City Manager Amy Williams said she has been consulting City Attorney Tracey Thompson about how to proceed. She said she has never had a mayor resign during a term.

The next regular meeting of the city commission is Monday, March 18 at 5:30 p.m.

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