SOUTHWEST HARBOR — Police Chief Dave Chapais plans to retire next month after nearly 20 years with the police department here, the last 11 years as chief.
But the board of selectmen did not accept his letter of resignation Tuesday night, voting instead to table the matter until their next scheduled meeting, on Sept. 23.
Chief Chapais said in a Sept. 4 letter to town manager Don Lagrange that he intends to retire effective Oct. 17.
“This decision does not come easy, however, due to professional and personal reasons I submit this notice,” he wrote. “It has been an absolute honor and privilege to know and serve the citizens of Southwest Harbor.”
Chief Chapais told the Mount Desert Islander he is retiring because he wants to travel and reconnect with family.
“I’m looking for a camper,” he said.
Dan Norwood, chairman of the board of selectmen, said at Tuesday’s meeting that he was “saddened” by Chief Chapais’ letter announcing his intention to retire.
“I’m not sure what it means for the town and its police department moving forward or what it potentially means for our fine chief,” he said.
The selectmen had scheduled a closed-door session following Tuesday’s regular meeting to discuss “personnel matters regarding the upcoming retirement of the police chief.”
Norwood asked Chief Chapais to meet with them “to help guide us in potential personnel issues.”
“I think we need to hear directly from the chief further,” he said.
Norwood said following the executive session that the only decision the selectmen made was to table discussion of the chief’s retirement for two weeks.
“We want everyone to think about the situation,” Norwood said.
Chief Chapais said Wednesday morning that he is “OK” with the board’s decision to postpone acceptance of his retirement letter. But he still plans to leave the job next month, he said.
Chief Chapais was born and raised in Eastport. He spent 20 years in the U.S. Coast Guard before joining the Southwest Harbor Police Department as a patrolman.