News in brief

Police chief resigns

Police chief Stephen DuBois is stepping down from the Portsmouth Police Department.  The city’s police commission accepted DuBois’ resignation at a meeting on Monday, Sept. 28.

At the meeting, commissioners accepted a “separation agreement” between DuBois and the department. Under the agreement, DuBois will leave the department on March 28 of next year. Until then, DuBois will continue to act as police chief and will help the city’s police commission with transitioning his duties to his replacement. The agreement replaces DuBois’ previous employment contract with the city and requires that he remain a certified police officer. The agreement also states that the city and DuBois will only discuss information released in a press release that was prepared with the agreement.

“If contacted by a prospective future employer of the employee, the commission shall only reiterate the information in the joint press release. During the term of this agreement, the commission and the employee will not make any negative or disparaging public comments about each other,” the agreement states.

Commissioners John Golumb and Wayne Lehman signed the agreement; commissioner Brenna Cavanaugh did not and said she opposed the agreement “based on the merits of a few of the details in the separation agreement.” The agreement must be approved by the city council.

DuBois has been with the department for 22 years and began his career as an auxiliary police officer.

“Chief DuBois wishes to thank the men and women of the police department for the many years of shared experiences making the city of Portsmouth a safe place for our residents and visitors,” a statement said. “He looks forward to moving on to the next chapter in his life with his family and friends and the adventures that lay ahead.”

DuBois’ resignation follows an August court ruling that stripped former Portsmouth police officer Aaron Goodwin of almost $2 million he was to inherit from Geraldine Webber. A judge found that Goodwin had exerted undue influence over Webber.

In July, former city police officer John Connors filed a federal suit against DuBois, police commissioner John Golumb and former commissioner Jerry Howe, and the city, claiming that he was placed under a gag order by the department after speaking to the Portsmouth Herald about the Webber case. — Larry Clow

Air Force agrees to treat Pease wells

The U.S. Air Force has agreed to treat all three wells at Pease International Tradeport that are contaminated with perflourochemicals (PFCs).

Following a federal Environmental Protection Agency order in July, the Air Force agreed to treat the Haven Well at the former Air Force base, where PFC levels were found at rates 12.5 higher than EPA limits in the spring of 2014. On Friday, Sept. 25, the Air Force announced it would also treat the Harrison and Smith wells at Pease, which have tested positive for PFCs but at levels within EPA limits. The chemicals are believed to have originated from a firefighting foam that was used on the base.

“Today’s announcement is a big step forward and shows a real commitment from the Air Force to rid the Pease wells of these dangerous contaminants,” said U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, who, along with Sen. Kelly Ayotte, has been pressing the Air Force to begin cleanup efforts on the wells. — LC