The quiet lead up to Christmas on the Island was shattered this week with the revelations that gross mismanagement had led to allegations of fraud at the Edgartown wastewater treatment plant. A criminal complaint has been issued against an Edgartown septic hauler, who admitted to police that he took advantage of a system that was extremely lax, with little or no oversight or checks on how much the haulers were actually dumping at the plant. The hauler, Jason Araujo, is scheduled to be arraigned in Edgartown district court in February on charges of creating false documents, a felony.

And the unsettling allegations do not end with the charges that are now expected in court. Police investigators found that superintendent Joseph Alosso’s loose management practices at the plant extended to allowing certain town employees — including himself — and elected town officials to use the plant for free when they had their own septic systems pumped.

The Edgartown selectmen have properly turned the matter over to the state ethics commission for review, and following the recommendation of their town counsel the selectmen have appointed a special attorney to investigate independently the matter for the town. The selectmen were right to act swiftly and without hesitation in this very serious matter, and their action should not end there.

It will be up to the court to determine whether Mr. Araujo is criminally responsible, and it will be up to the state ethics commission to determine whether certain Edgartown officials violated state ethics laws.

But at this stage it is undisputed that Mr. Alosso, the treatment plant superintendent, has abused his authority and shirked his responsibility as a town employee by running a loose ship at a public facility paid for by taxpayers. The facts are well documented in interviews conducted by state and local police over the last several months that are now a matter of public record. How much money the town has actually lost will never be known, and this is directly due to the startlingly shoddy management at the treatment plant, where records in the form of metering slips that were meant to go to a bookkeeper for internal accounting controls were casually tossed into the trash. And that is when records were kept at all. Indeed, at times the accounts in the police reports make the operations at the wastewater plant sound more like a private club for Mr. Alosso and his pals than a public facility operated on the taxpayers’ nickel.

The elected members of the wastewater commission must be held equally accountable for their own role in allowing this to happen, a clear violation of the public trust.

At the annual town meeting in April, Mr. Alosso stood before the voters and apologized for the affairs at the plant that led to the fraud investigation, which at that stage was still under way. At the time the Gazette said the selectmen would be wise to place Mr. Alosso on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation. That did not happen.

Mr. Alosso said this week that the problems flagged by police investigators have since been corrected, but his comments sound thin when placed in the context of the findings.

Even if some corrections have been made this does not change the mistakes that were made at the wastewater plant. Mr. Alosso should do the right thing and resign his post immediately. If he does not, the selectmen and the wastewater commission should not hesitate to fire him.

At this stage in this still-unfolding scandal, no other outcome is acceptable.