BAR HARBOR — Attorneys representing the town filed a response brief last week in a State Supreme Court appeal seeking a hearing on whether town councilors improperly directed town employees.
In November, Superior Court Justice William Anderson denied the original complaint, filed by Greif in February 2016.
In January 2016, the Town Council received a letter from Greif and his wife, Donna Karlson, alleging misconduct by Councilors Paul Paradis and now-former Councilor David Bowden. Greif and Karlson claimed the councilors “gave orders” to Code Enforcement Officer Angela Chamberlain in a secret 2013 meeting to monitor the activities of another town employee, former assessor Marc Perry.
The council met with town attorney Ed Bearor in executive session to discuss their “rights and responsibilities with regard to the complaint,” then in open session, decided that the complaint did not warrant additional review.
Greif claimed that the council violated the town charter by failing to hold a hearing on his complaint.
In the town’s brief, attorneys Bearor and Jonathan Hunter argue the Superior Court was correct in ruling that Greif does not have standing to bring the action.
In order to bring the complaint challenging a town decision under Rule 80B, they said, Greif had to demonstrate “particular injury” from the decision.
“Mr. Greif has failed to allege any special injury different from that of the public at large,” they wrote. Nothing in the complaint “gives any suggestion how Mr. Greif is situated differently from any other resident of the town in regard to the continued service of council members Paradis and Bowden.”
Greif had argued that the executive session violated the Freedom of Access Act (FOAA) because he and Karlson were not informed or permitted to be present.
“Mr. Greif’s FOAA claim is not supported by the record and was not properly pled or preserved,” the town’s attorneys wrote, calling it an attempt to “bootstrap his standing with respect to his Rule 80B appeal onto a FOAA claim.”
They also argue that the appeal is moot, since the terms of both councilors during which the alleged misconduct took place have ended.
“Greif concedes the appeal is moot as to Bowden, who did not run for re-election in 2016,” they wrote. The town argues the appeal is also moot in regards to Paradis, “who was duly re-elected by the voters of the town to another term [in 2016] and would not have been prohibited from seeking re-election or being re-elected, even if the sought forfeiture of office had occurred.”