FARMINGTON — A Franklin County jail corrections officer has been fired after she admitted to the theft of about $300 worth of merchandise from a Walmart, according to county documents.

Following an internal investigation by the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, Nicole Quick of Avon was fired July 21 after Franklin County commissioners found cause for her dismissal.

A month before her dismissal, Quick signed a consent agreement with the Board of Trustees of the Maine Criminal Justice Academy, which issued her a certificate of eligibility to work as a corrections officer, agreeing to surrender the certification she had held since 2003.

Documents regarding the dismissal were released to the Sun Journal through a Freedom of Access Act request following the end of Quick’s 30-day appeal period.

On July 21, commissioners met and voted in executive session to give approval to jail manager Maj. Doug Blauvelt to dismiss Quick from county employment, according to a letter sent to Quick.

Blauvelt dismissed Quick the same day, according to the document signed by all three commissioners and Blauvelt.

The dismissal came about four months after the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office notified the Board of Trustees about an incident involving Quick at the Waterville Walmart.

According to a statement of facts outlined in the consent agreement signed by Quick on June 3, she and her mother were detained by store security on Jan. 24 for theft by shoplifting. According to the consent document, a store security officer observed “Quick and her mother working as a team to remove uniform product code stickers (i.e. price tags) from expensive items and replace them with UPC stickers from cheaper items.”

According to the agreement, “Quick and her mother went to the self-checkout/self-scanner where they proceeded to scan some items but not others.”

Store security stopped Quick before she left the store, and recovered $391.19 worth of merchandise that had not been paid for, according to the consent agreement.

According to store security, Quick said she wanted to take full responsibility for the theft because she did not want her mother to get into trouble.

The Waterville Police Department issued Quick a criminal summons on a charge of theft.

On Jan. 30, Lt. David St. Laurent of the Franklin County Sheriff’s Department met with Quick as part of an internal investigation of the theft charge.

During the interview, Quick denied engaging in illegal conduct and said the reason she told store security she wanted to take full responsibility was “because she did not want her mother to get into trouble again for shoplifting.”

St. Laurent showed Quick the store security video and she denied knowing what her mother was doing, but then volunteered she was “guilty,” according to the agreement. Quick admitted she knew her mother had scanned only one of three shirts that had been stacked inside one another at the self-checkout.

The video showed Quick standing a foot away from her mother, who was scanning merchandise. In addition, the video showed Quick looking at the printed receipt for the merchandise, which totaled $93.91, according to the agreement.

When St. Laurent asked Quick to justify her claim that she didn’t know what her mother was doing, particularly since she saw the printed receipt did not match the $391.19 worth of merchandise packed in shopping bags, Quick walked out of the interview.

By signing the consent agreement, Quick neither admitted nor denied the facts outlined in the document, but conceded the academy’s board of trustees had sufficient evidence to conclude she engaged in theft if the matter had moved to an adjudicatory hearing.

Quick agreed to voluntarily surrender her certificate to perform duties of a corrections officer and has pleaded guilty to the theft charge in a Waterville court, according to the agreement.

Quick’s lawyer, Walter Hanstein of Farmington, said Quick entered into a deferred disposition on the theft charge and the case will be dismissed in six months if Quick meets certain criteria set by the court.

Quick decided not to fight surrendering her certificate to the state, Hanstein said, because she was previously assaulted by an inmate at the Farmington jail and is no longer physically capable of doing the job.

In voting to approve Quick’s dismissal, Franklin County commissioners took the action behind closed doors on the advice of their attorney, Frank Underkuffler of Farmington, who said he was preserving employee privacy under the county’s collective bargaining agreement.

Maine’s Freedom of Access Act bans voting by any government body during an executive session, but Underkuffler said there is an exception to the law that covers confidential employee personnel records.

The Sun Journal verbally objected to the vote in executive session at the commissioners meeting on July 21, objected again in writing and has since filed a complaint with the public access ombudsman at the Office of the Attorney General.

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