AUGUSTA — Dennis Picard, who was fired from the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office in November, is wearing a uniform again, now as an officer with the department’s court security division.

The job, part-time for now and primarily at Waterville District Court, followed an internal investigation connected to an election for sheriff in neighboring Somerset County.

The job came after a negotiated arrangement with the sheriff’s department that allowed Picard to continue working there, according to his attorney, Leonard Sharon.

“The sheriff’s office did its investigation and issued its findings,” Sharon said via email on Monday. “My role was to fight to keep Mr. Picard employed by the Kennebec sheriff’s department.”

Sharon said another attorney, Tom Nale, of Waterville, negotiated the arrangement with the sheriff’s department.

Picard was put on administrative leave in October, and he said he was fired in late November, although the county never confirmed that. After the recent settlement, he resigned as captain of the law enforcement division. He is now employed by the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office as a part-time court security officer, working primarily at Waterville District Court.

Kennebec County Administrator Robert Devlin said Tuesday Picard will become a full-time employee again, as will several other part-time court security officers, when the new courthouse, the Capital Judicial Center, opens in March in Augusta.

“(Nale’s) negotiations ended up with a resolution whereby Mr. Picard would have a role in the branch of the Kennebec sheriff’s department that deals with security,” Sharon said. “I believe this differs from his previous assignment that was focused on road patrols. Therefore, there was no need to have a hearing to determine what action if any should be taken based upon the report.”

Nale did not respond to a phone message left at his Waterville office Tuesday afternoon. Picard also did not reply to an emailed request for comment on Tuesday afternoon.

On Dec. 31, Devlin issued a one-sentence press release saying, “Dennis Picard has submitted his resignation as captain of the sheriff’s office patrol division.”

Picard, a former longtime police officer with the Waterville Police Department before joining the sheriff’s department in 2013, was placed on paid administrative leave by the county following an internal probe that began in October. The probe was announced just days after the Morning Sentinel reported that his wife had filed an unsuccessful election complaint in the race for sheriff in neighboring Somerset County and then used a fake name to tip off local media.

Somerset County Chief Deputy Dale Lancaster won the Nov. 4 Somerset election with 60 percent of the vote. His opponent was Waterville police Officer Kris McKenna, who was supported by the Picards, who live in Troy.

Picard’s administrative leave began Oct. 24, the same day the Morning Sentinel reported that his wife filed an unsuccessful federal election complaint against Lancaster, alleging Lancaster had violated the federal Hatch Act by using his office to campaign. Federal authorities determined the complaint had no merit.

While no one in the county government or sheriff’s office specified the nature of the internal investigation, Kennebec County Sheriff Randall Liberty said previously that such probes most often involve allegations of violations of department policy. The probe was conducted by Sgt. Alfred Morin of the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office of Professional Review. Information gathered during the investigation was to be turned over to Liberty and Chief Deputy Ryan Reardon to determine whether a reprimand was warranted.

Picard joined the Kennebec County police force on July 15, 2013, with the title of assistant jail administrator. Picard later became captain of the law enforcement division of the sheriff’s office, and that was the title he held when he was fired Nov. 21.

Shortly afterward, he indicated that he was appealing the termination decision to the county commissioners and seeking a hearing. A hearing was never held.

“I have a great deal of faith in due process and have shared that sentiment with hundreds, if not thousands of inmates and defendants who I have had contact throughout my career,” he wrote.

Sharon said at the time that he believed Picard’s due process rights were violated. Devlin said the county was represented by attorney Warren Shay in negotiations involving Picard.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams

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