Portsmouth officer to contest firing after inheritance scandalBy JAMES A. KIMBLE
Union Leader Correspondent
August 19. 2015 9:26PM
PORTSMOUTH — A police sergeant who was terminated after an independent investigation into how he became the main beneficiary of a $2.7 million estate of an elderly woman is contesting his firing through arbitration.
Tom Closson, a labor lawyer for the city, said on Wednesday he expects the arbitration process for Aaron Goodwin could take six months to a year before the matter is finally decided.
Goodwin was terminated in June by police Chief Stephen DuBois in the wake of a months-long controversy about the sergeant’s relationship with the late Geraldine Webber.
A probate court judge is now deciding whether Webber had testamentary capacity when she had her will re-written by a new lawyer, Gary Holmes.
Closson said the city and police union must agree on the arbitrator, who will serve as a neutral third party that will decide whether Goodwin’s termination will stand.
Generally, arbitrators must weigh whether a city had “just cause” to terminate an employee.
No deadline has been set for selecting an arbitrator or having a hearing on the matter, according to Closson.
DuBois announced firing Goodwin in June. An independent task force headed by a retired judge concluded that Goodwin had violated the department’s rules on accepting gifts and other infractions.
The police administration also failed to act when Goodwin began a personal relationship with Webber, which included talking her out for drinks and even to a casino.
The probate case alleges that Goodwin exerted undue influence on Webber.