An independent arbitrator this month ordered the reinstatement of a veteran Cumberland County sheriff’s detective who was fired after a demotion and a prolonged leave of absence that also triggered a lawsuit against the department.

Detective Gerard Brady is expected to return to work Aug. 26.

Brady’s woes began when he was demoted to patrolman for two minor policy violations, for which the sheriff’s office attempted to have him prosecuted criminally. The first arbitrator determined that the demotion was too harsh a penalty, recommending instead a written reprimand.

But the demotion allegedly triggered a mental breakdown that led to Brady taking the leave of absence, which stretched longer than a year.

After Brady returned and was reinstated to his detective position in May, the department fired him under a provision of its employment contract that allows termination of a county employee who is out of work for longer than 12 months.

The second arbitrator ruled the department’s termination decision was made “not with clean hands” because the department had previously tried to prosecute Brady for the policy violations. The arbitrator’s decision, finalized Aug. 10, returned Brady to the position of detective, which he had held for two decades.

Brady is also suing the department, alleging that he was retaliated against for reporting what he believed was an illegal assault on a person in custody, and for saying he would support someone other than Sheriff Kevin Joyce, had that other person run for the position.

The potential candidate, Maine State Police Sgt. Michael Edes, did not run for the office.

A call to Joyce for comment was not returned Thursday.

In a statement released by his attorney, Brady expressed satisfaction with the arbitration decision. “I look forward to returning to work and continuing to serve the citizens of Cumberland County,” he said.

Matt Byrne can be contacted at 791-6303 or at:

mbyrne@pressherald.com