Gouldsboro police chief resigns, citing report questioning his credibility

·3 min read

May 7—Gouldsboro's police chief is resigning after he said a report questioning his credibility as a witness was sent to the Hancock County District Attorney's office.

John Shively's last day is expected to be Friday, May 7, marking the latest turmoil in the small police department that has now had three chiefs in five years and will be down to one officer after Shively's departure. The department survived a June 2019 referendum vote in which residents were asked whether they wanted to keep their local police force intact.

In his resignation letter earlier this week, Shively said Gouldsboro would be best served by signing a contract with the Hancock County Sheriff's office for police coverage. And he said a Giglio report had been sent to the district attorney's office in his absence and without his knowledge.

A Giglio report is a document, usually kept on file by a prosecutor's office, that calls into question the credibility of a police officer. It raises the possibility that if the police officer testifies in court, the officer's character may be called into question on the stand, which could jeopardize criminal court cases in which that officer is involved.

Often, a Giglio report or impairment can result in police officers quitting or losing their jobs and pursuing another line of work.

In his letter of resignation, which he submitted to the Gouldsboro town manager on Tuesday, Shively said that by resigning as police chief, he will have more time "to address this matter with the district attorney's office."

Reached by phone on Thursday, Shively confirmed that he had submitted his resignation to the town but declined further comment.

Matthew Foster, Hancock County's district attorney, did not respond to a message Thursday inquiring about the Giglio report filed against Shively. District attorneys keep their lists of so-called Giglioed officers secret.

Shively's resignation comes less than a year after the town ordered him to undergo sexual harassment training after he was accused of sexually harassing another town employee. Around the same time, then-officer Eli Brown and fellow patrolman Adam Brackett told town officials they had no confidence in Shively, who was promoted to run the department of three officers, including the chief, in October 2019 after starting as an officer in December 2017.

Brackett subsequently was fired but then re-hired after appealing to the town's board of selectmen, and Brown resigned in February. Following Shively's resignation, Brackett will be the only officer working for the Gouldsboro Police Department.

According to the Ellsworth American weekly newspaper, Shively and Brackett were taken off duty for several weeks in March and April while the town sought to resolve the disputes within the department. Former police Chief Glenn Grant was brought in temporarily to help run the department, while the Hancock County Sheriff's Office handled emergency calls for the town, the newspaper reported.

Andrea Sirois, Gouldsboro's town manager, said Thursday she could not comment on whether Shively had been placed on leave earlier this spring.

Shively also cited complaints that had been filed against him as reasons for his resignation.

"All have been determined to be unfounded," and yet without his knowledge the previous same complaints were presented to the district attorney's office along with the Giglio report while he had been taken off duty, he wrote.

"I have been targeted politically, both internally and externally and it is occupying all of my time, and yours," Shively told Sirois. "I feel that for both the stability of the town and for the mental health of both myself and my family, this is the best option."

While the department is down to one officer, Sirois said, the sheriff's department will continue to respond to emergency calls in Gouldsboro.

The board of selectmen was expected to meet in executive session Thursday evening, May 6, to discuss a personnel matter, but Sirois declined to disclose additional information about the meeting, including whether it was related to Shively's resignation.

"We thank him for his dedicated service and wish him the best of luck," Sirois said.