ARTHUR J. GREIF
TOWN OF BAR HARBOR
Submitted on Briefs: May 25, 2017
J. Greif, appellant pro se
J. Bearor, Esq., and Jonathan P. Hunter, Esq., Rudman
Winchell, Bangor, for appellee Town of Bar Harbor
SAUFLEY, C.J., and ALEXANDER, GORMAN, JABAR, HJELM, and
Arthur J. Greif appeals from a judgment of the Superior Court
(Hancock County, Anderson, J.) affirming the
decision of the Bar Harbor Town Council declining to conduct
an investigatory hearing after receiving a letter from Greif
in which he detailed allegations of misconduct by two of the
Towns councilors. We conclude that the Council acted properly
pursuant to the Bar Harbor Town Charter and Maines Freedom of
Access Act, and we affirm the judgment.
The following facts are set out in the administrative record.
See M.R. Civ. P. 80B(f); Osprey Family Tr. v.
Town of Owls Head, 2016 ME 89, ¶ 2, 141 A.3d 1114.
[¶3] Greif is a Bar Harbor resident. On January 4, 2016,
he sent a letter to five of the Towns seven councilors
detailing allegations of misconduct concerning the other two
councilors. In the letter, Greif alleged that, in 2013, the
two councilors secretly met with the Towns Code Enforcement
Officer (CEO) to encourage the CEO to clandestinely monitor
another Town employees use of the Town photocopier in hopes
of uncovering evidence that the Town employee used the
photocopier to conduct his private real estate business.
According to Greif, the two councilors planned to report any
wrongdoing the CEO observed to the Town manager.
Greifs letter alleged that the councilors actions violated
the Town Charter, which prohibits the Town Council or its
councilors from giving orders to Town employees. See
Bar Harbor, Me., Charter § C-11 (July 1, 2010).
Accordingly, Greif urged the Town Council to convene an
investigatory hearing to determine whether the councilors
conduct violated the Town Charter and consequently warranted
forfeiture of their positions on the Council.
On January 5, 2016, one day after the date of Greifs letter,
the Town Council held a meeting. While in a regular session,
the Council voted 7-0 to enter an executive session "for
the purpose of consulting with the Towns attorney concerning
the legal rights and duties of the Town in regard to"
the Councils receipt of Greifs letter. After approximately
one hour, the Council-excluding the councilors who were named
in the complaint- reentered regular session and voted
unanimously to pursue no further action, concluding
"that the alleged facts and circumstances contained in
the January 4, 2016 letter do not warrant further review or
consideration by the Council."
On January 29, 2016, Greif filed with the Superior Court an
appeal in which he sought review of the Councils actions in
disposing of the allegations contained in his letter.
See 4 M.R.S. § 105(3); M.R. Civ. P. 80B.
Additionally, Greif alleged in his complaint that the Town
Council violated the provisions of Maines Freedom of Access
Act (FOAA), 1 M.R.S. §§ 400-521 (2016), when, he
claimed, the Council discussed the substance of his
allegations in an executive session closed to the public. The
court rejected Greifs FOAA claims and affirmed the actions of
the Town. Greif appeals.
We review the Town Councils decision "directly for error
of law, abuse of discretion or findings not supported by
substantial evidence in the record." Osprey Family
Tr.,2016 ME 89, ¶ 9, 141 A.3d 1114 (quotation
marks omitted). In so doing, we review the ...