Court action takes deputy fight too far

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The story so far:

Long spurned by the Androscoggin County Commission, Sheriff Guy Desjardins triumphed over the imperious panel – aided by an insulting “faux pas” by its chairman – and received consent to hire an additional patrol deputy.

As long as he started over.

This was a problem, given Desjardins had hired someone for the job. So, the sheriff took his fight upstairs in the county building to Superior Court, for an injunction against the commission to allow him to fill the job.

Like a soap opera, the plot of this governmental misadventure only grows more surreal, usually from petulant actions by the commission. Except in filing for an injunction, it’s the sheriff who went too far.

This was the danger in this clash of wills. Neither side wishes to accept defeat, which is fine when negotiating within the county, but expensive in the courtroom.

Litigation won’t put Desjardins’ hard-fought deputy onto the roads of Androscoggin County any faster. In asking Desjardins to re-post the position prior to hiring, the commission offered the sheriff what he wants, while saving as much face as possible.

Desjardins should take the deal. There are other fronts – old ones, like the unsettled issue of chief deputy, and new ones, like moving toward a county charter.

We’ve been dogged in our support of the sheriff, and applaud his push to reform county government. Desjardins’ full attention is needed for this to succeed.

This starts by putting the deputy debate to rest, finally.

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