LEWISTON – Androscoggin County is waiting for its legal bill in the lawsuit begun by Sheriff Guy Desjardins.
“I have no idea what it’ll be,” said Elmer Berry, chairman of the county commission.
County Attorney Bryan Dench had yet to tabulate the full costs Thursday. Meanwhile, Desjardins declined to talk about his costs, saying that his bill is “between me and my lawyer.”
The court case, which went to a hearing July 13, ended four days later after Superior Court Justice Joyce A. Wheeler denied Desjardins’ requested injunction against the three-member commission.
The injunction would have forced the group to abide by the sheriff’s plan to hire Livermore Falls officer Maurice Drouin. Commissioners balked at hiring an additional deputy because of a perceived revenue shortfall in the county budget.
Drouin may still be hired. Desjardins on Wednesday resubmitted Drouin’s name to the commission.
He did it only after calling his lawyer, Portland attorney Jonathan Berry, and giving up the case.
Both sides likely accumulated thousands of dollars in lawyers’ fees.
Since May, Desjardins has met several times with his attorney. Jonathan Berry, no relation to the commissioner, attended news conferences and was involved in discussions with Wheeler and Dench.
Desjardins also plans to pay for a $300 newspaper ad he purchased during the dispute. Commissioners twice refused to pay for the ad, which solicited applications for the patrol job before they had officially created it.
“None of my costs will be passed on to taxpayers,” Desjardins said.
Paying the bills out of his own pocket hasn’t left him bitter, though.
While the case went differently than he had hoped – reasserting the commission’s authority over all county jobs – Desjardins said the case was constructive.
“You can quit and say I’ve had enough, or you can look at it in a positive way,” he said. “I wanted direction and interpretation and that’s what (Wheeler) gave us.”