Westbrook officials announced Wednesday that Michael Pardue, the city’s director of public safety, has resigned from his position, stating he plans to pursue a business opportunity.

In a resignation letter dated Monday, Sept. 15, Pardue said his last day in Westbrook will be October 10. He said in the letter that the move is “due to a business opportunity that has recently presented, which requires my availability in mid-October.”

While Pardue cites a shift back to private business, the timing of his departure is difficult to overlook. In late August, Westbrook police officer Melissa May filed a notice of claim against the city, stating that gender bias and sexual harassment is an issue within the department.

In the city’s official statement released Wednesday morning, Mayor Colleen Hilton said, “Mike has been a true professional and a wonderful presence in our community throughout his tenure and in keeping with that assessment has worked with us on his transition which has allowed us to simultaneously name our interim leadership team.”

According to the release, Janine Roberts, a retired commanding officer with the Portland Police Department, will be named interim Chief of Police, and will begin her work on September 29, while acting Deputy Fire Chief Andrew Turcotte will step up as interim Fire Chief.

An expanded story will appear in this week’s American Journal, Thursday, Sept. 18.

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