ELLSWORTH, Maine — A Superior Court judge has dismissed former Bar Harbor police Chief Nate Young’s civil lawsuit claiming he was wrongful fired over 4 years ago.
Bar Harbor’s top cop for 23 years, Young in his lawsuit claimed that Bar Harbor officials denied him due process when he was fired in January 2014, that his firing was “arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, legally erroneous” and “unsupported by substantial evidence in the record,” and that the town breached its employment contract with him for firing him without just cause.
Town officials said they fired Young that January after two Bar Harbor officers found him slumped over the steering wheel of a pickup truck parked outside a local business on Sept. 25, 2013, in the village of Town Hill. A town-hired investigator concluded that Young had likely been driving drunk and had pressed the officers to not to pursue the matter, according to the eight-page decision filed by Justice Bruce C. Mallonee on July 6.
In his lawsuit, Young had claimed that the Town Council’s 5-2 vote in support of Town Manager Dana Reed’s decision to fire him was swayed by “unsubstantiated allegations.” Those allegations included excessive drinking and an altercation at Young’s home that might have involved domestic violence, according to Mallonee’s ruling.
But in his ruling, Mallonee said that Young had not proven any of his claims. He said that on its face, the record of the town’s deliberations “shows no error of law or abuse of discretion on the town council’s decision.”
And “based on the councilors’ testimony at trial, the court concludes their deliberations at the hearing were not impermissibly influenced by their existing knowledge of the issues or by any opinions they had developed before the hearing began,” Mallonee wrote.
In fact, Mallonee complimented Young and Reed for their careers “of dedicated and effective public service,” and town councilors for their service.
Councilors “ran for election in order to govern the town and solve its problems,” Mallonee said, “not to embark upon four years of acrimony and litigation.”
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