BAR HARBOR, Maine — If Nate Young wants to appeal his firing as the Bar Harbor police chief in court, he has 30 days to do it, his attorney said Thursday.
Portland attorney Gregg Frame said he expects Young to take a few days to decide whether to appeal Wednesday’s vote by the Town Council to uphold Young’s firing.
“I’ve not spoken with Nate today,” Frame said. “We’re going to get in touch later this week or early next week to figure out next steps.”
After serving as the local police chief for 29 years, Young was fired last month by Town Manager Dana Reed, a decision the council reaffirmed Wednesday with a 5-2 vote. Reed terminated Young after receiving a report from investigator Jon Goodman that concluded Young had broken the law last fall by driving drunk in Bar Harbor and had pressured his officers not to investigate the matter.
Young denies the accusations.
Saco attorney Susan Driscoll, who is representing Town Manager Dana Reed in Young’s appeals, said Wednesday that she hoped the council vote might put the matter to rest. The entire process has been a “difficult journey” for the town, she said.
“I think now is an opportunity [for everyone] to close the chapter and to move on,” Driscoll said.
Reed said Wednesday that, in the meantime, the police department will continue to be overseen indefinitely by Mount Desert police Chief James Willis. Willis has been splitting his time between the two towns since early November, about a month after Young was placed on paid administrative leave.
Reed said town officials have not decided when Bar Harbor might try to hire a new police chief. He declined further comment.
Whether or not Young pursues an appeal in court, the controversy over his firing likely will not dissipate overnight.
A former town councilor has been highly critical of Wednesday’s council vote.
Jeff Dobbs, who served on the board for several years, said the decision to fire Young was unfair and not supported by facts presented at Wednesday’s hearing.
“They made up their minds long before they showed up,” Dobbs said. “I’ve never been so ashamed of the council.”
But a current councilor who has served with Dobbs said Reed had little choice but to look into the situation when he heard about it and then to terminate Young, given the conclusions of the investigator’s report.
“This hearing would be about him right now,” if Reed had not pursued the matter, Councilor David Bowden said Wednesday. “A breathalyzer [test] would have been a whole lot better than hearsay, but I have to support Dana’s decision.”