DIXFIELD – Former police Chief Richard Pickett wants his job back, but he hasn’t decided if he’ll sue the town to accomplish that goal.

Pickett said Wednesday afternoon that legal matters are in the hands of his lawyer, Phil Coffin of the Portland law firm of Lambert Coffin.

“My intention is to go back to work. It’s in the hands of my attorney, who has contacted the town’s attorney,” he said.

Pickett’s contract was not renewed after a closed session by selectmen on June 30.

Coffin said last week that the action taken by the board was not a non-renewal of Pickett’s contract, but a termination. Coffin said then that a decision would be made within 30 days regarding a wrongful termination lawsuit.

“I’m taking this one day at a time,” said Pickett on Wednesday. “I appreciate all the support I’ve received. That makes each day easier.”

Picket, a retired Maine State Police trooper and detective, served as Dixfield’s police chief for 10 years.

He job contract was not renewed after he made comments at the annual town meeting in May that were considered insubordinate by Selectmen Bettina Martin, James Desjardins and Raymond Carlton. Selectwoman Norine Clarke and Brad Dyer voted against the termination.

Chairwoman Martin said Wednesday afternoon that the board will not take any action to hire a replacement police chief until Town Manager Tom Richmond returns from vacation at the end of the month.

“It will be at least a month before we decide whether to hire a new chief,” she said.

In the meantime, newly promoted Sgt. Jeff Howe was named interim police chief with a $3 per hour increase in his pay.

Howe, along with officers Eric Bernier and Chuck Beale, with the assistance of several reserve officers, are continuing to provide 24-hour police coverage for this town of 2,500 people.

At the May 22 town meeting, voters favored keeping a four-person police department. A majority of selectmen had recommended that the department be reduced to three full-time police officers.


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