PARIS — A former Fryeburg police officer has appealed his termination in Oxford County Superior Court, charging a lack of due process on the part of town officials.

Ian Tait of Brownfield served as an officer in the Fryeburg Police Department from January 2004 until his termination was upheld on April 24, according to court documents.

investigation found that Tait’s misconduct included accepting a
gratuity, inappropriate texting and interaction with other employees,
speeding and issuing false summonses
, according to court documents. Weymouth concluded that Tait had
violated the town’s ethics and personnel rules, as well as the police
department’s standard operating procedure.

The appeal accuses the town of a lack of due process under municipal procedures and under the federal and state constitutions, failure to provide an impartial hearing and violation of the Freedom of Information Act. It asks that the decision be reversed and that Tait be awarded any relief the court deems appropriate, including attorney’s fees.
Tait is represented by Sarah Glynn, who also served as his counsel when the matter was appealed at the municipal level. According to the appeal, Tait was placed on unpaid administrative leave by Chief Philip Weymouth on Sept. 30 due to inappropriate conduct on duty.
In October, selectmen voted to reinstate Tait’s pay pending an investigation. Tait said he appealed to Town Manager Martin Krauter after Weymouth signed a document firing him in December. After two executive sessions in March and April, selectmen voted 2-1 to uphold Weymouth’s decision.

Glynn argues that Weymouth, who began serving as chief on Sept. 15, told officers that they had a “clean slate” on anything prior to that date. She says all but two of the incidents Tait was implicated in took place prior to Sept. 15, and the two that happened after the date included other officers who were not disciplined. Glynn also argues that none of the incidents was serious enough to merit termination.
The appeal states that during the hearings, Weymouth was relating information to the selectmen that he had received from town employees. Glynn says the employees were not available for cross-examination, and that their testimony would have been suspect because “their livelihood is controlled by the town.”
According to the appeal, Weymouth is the fourth police chief to serve in the town in the past five years.
“The board based this decision not on (Tait’s) performance, but on its fear that (Chief Weymouth) would quit,” Glynn argues.
Mark Franco, representing the town, denied the version of events presented by Glynn in an answer filed with the court. Franco asked that the appeal be dismissed.
He offered 18 affirmative defenses, including that all town actions were taken due to “legitimate, nondiscriminatory reasons;” “failure to exhaust administrative remedies;” and “oral and written admissions to breaches of contract.”

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