Former Winter Harbor, ME, Chief Faces Computer-Related Charges

April 24, 2024
The ex-Gouldsboro fire chief, charged with theft there, is accused of new offenses in Winter Harbor.

Apr. 24—The former fire chief in Gouldsboro who is accused of forgery and theft now is charged with also breaking the law while in Winter Harbor, where he had later gone to work as fire chief and then been fired last fall.

Tatum McLean, who lives in Gouldsboro, was indicted this month on a felony charge of aggravated criminal invasion of computer privacy. Details about what led to that charge, which was initially filed in January, were unavailable in court documents, but McLean allegedly committed the crime in Winter Harbor on Oct. 29, 2023, after he had been fired as that town's fire chief.

The charges stem from a pattern of fraud and theft that McLean allegedly committed while overseeing Schoodic EMS, the ambulance service that provides emergency medical care to both towns, when he was Gouldsboro's fire chief. McLean is accused of "falsely completing and submitting payroll warrants for payment based on medical transport," according to court documents filed by the Hancock County District Attorney's office.

McLean left his job as Gouldsboro's fire chief in mid-May 2022, saying in his resignation letter that he was leaving with "sincere regret," but that the direction and goals of the town "do not coincide with my personal and professional goals."

Soon thereafter, McLean became Winter Harbor's fire chief, road commissioner and facilities maintenance director, which altogether amounted to a full-time job. But he was placed on leave from those positions the following year after being charged with forgery, theft and unsworn falsification by the Gouldsboro Police Department.

McLean later was fired as Winter Harbor's fire chief on Sept. 1, 2023, nearly two months before he allegedly committed aggravated criminal invasion of computer privacy in the town.

McLean was fired as Winter Harbor's fire chief for reasons that go beyond the criminal charges arising in Gouldsboro. That's according to a termination letter from Winter Harbor Town Manager Cathy Carruthers, which the BDN obtained through a Freedom of Access Act request.

McLean had not adequately maintained firefighter personnel records and vehicle inspection records as the town's fire chief, Carruthers said in the letter.

He also instructed members of the Winter Harbor Fire Department "not to call Gouldsboro Fire Department for needed backup," Carruthers wrote. That contradicted a mutual aid agreement between the neighboring towns, which required them to provide firefighting services to each other, she noted.

McLean also did not adequately fulfill his duties as road commissioner or facilities maintenance director, the town manager said. He reportedly failed to tell a road paving contractor that an estimate was required in order to start work by early September and, as facilities maintenance director, told Carruthers that several jobs had been completed even though they were incomplete.

"In addition, you have misrepresented the dates and times when you were working on timesheets submitted to the town for accountability purposes," Carruthers wrote in McLean's termination letter.

McLean's defense attorney, Walter McKee, declined to comment Tuesday on the case.

McKee has successfully petitioned the court to be granted access to the private personnel records of another former Gouldsboro town employee who, according to McKee, is more culpable in the alleged criminal scheme than McLean. McKee said McLean needs access to those records in order to defend himself against the allegations.

No charges have been filed against that other employee in court.

This month, a judge ruled that McLean and McKee can access that employee's records via a secure online portal but could not download or share their contents with any third party.


(c)2024 the Bangor Daily News (Bangor, Maine)

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