Chief hearing a complicated legal proceeding



Nate Young

BAR HARBOR — Terminated Police Chief Nate Young’s appeal of his firing is expected to last through the day Feb. 26 and will include at least four attorneys.

The event gets underway in town council chambers at 10 a.m. The proceedings will be televised and streamed live on BarHarborMaine.gov.

While the meeting, at least initially, is open to the public, it is not a public hearing. No members of the public will be permitted to speak during the proceedings, council chairman Ruth Eveland confirmed Friday.

The course of the proceedings will be dictated by town personnel rules, she said. As per those rules, personnel matters are not handled in public hearings.

Typically, personnel matters are conducted in executive sessions not open to the public. In this case, Young has requested that the personnel hearing be held in open session. However, Eveland pointed out, it is understood that he can ask to go into executive session even after the hearing begins. No members of the public can be present during executive sessions.

The hearing is scheduled for 10 a.m. – not the usual council meeting start time of 7 p.m. because it is expected that the proceedings could last for many hours, Eveland said.

“If we start a meeting at 7 p.m. and it goes for, say, four hours, we would be trying to make a very important decision for our town way too late in the day for critical thinking processes. It is not fair to Young, to council members, or to the citizens of Bar Harbor to do it that way,” she said via email.

The format of the hearing is still being worked out, Eveland said. Generally, both Young and town manager Dana Reed, or their attorneys, will be able to present their side of the issue and to call witnesses, she said. Reed commissioned a report by an independent investigator and waited until after it had been completed before issuing the notice of termination.

Young, who says he has done nothing wrong, will be represented at the hearing by his attorney Gregg Frame. The town council will be advised by Matt Tarasevich of the town’s legal firm, Bernstein Shur of Portland.

Meanwhile, because the town attorney will be advising the council, the town manager’s case against Mr. Young will be presented by Susan Driscoll of Bergen & Parkinson, LLC of Kennebunk.

The two police officers that are named as witnesses in the case, Officer Judson Cake and Officer Larry Fickett, will be represented by attorney Bruce Merrill of Portland.

The town is picking up the cost of the attorney presenting the case for Reed, the attorney advising the town council, and the attorney representing the officers. It is unknown whether attorney Jon Goodman, who conducted the town’s investigation into Young’s actions, eventually leading to his dismissal last month, will be present at Wednesday’s hearing.

The council is expected to issue their decision in the matter at the conclusion of the proceedings. If the council finds in Reed’s favor, and Young takes the matter to court, it is expected that the town’s insurance through the Maine Municipal Association would cover much if not all of the further costs.

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Robert Levin

Robert Levin

Former reporter Robert Levin covered the people, businesses, governmental and nonprofit agencies of Bar Harbor. [email protected]
Robert Levin

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