PORTSMOUTH — The Police Commission on Friday voted to join the Portsmouth Herald in legal action seeking public release of a mediator’s ruling about fired police officer Aaron Goodwin's grievance related to his lost job and/or monetary awards.

After meeting in a non-public session, the commission publicly and unanimously voted to release the following statement:

"The Police Commission is requesting the commission's legal counsel Tom Closson to contact the Portsmouth Herald to join in its request for public disclosure of Aaron Goodwin's arbitration award. Also, during the Nov. 27 Police Commission meeting, the commission hopes to announce whether or not it will appeal the Goodwin award."

The commission previously announced it received, but would not release the ruling, on the advice of legal counsel. In response, the Herald filed a Right to Know request with the city’s legal office and in an Oct. 31 letter, outside labor lawyer Tom Closson responded, “Unfortunately, I am currently not able to release this document to you.”

Closson’s letter quotes Goodwin’s lawyer arguing “awards in this case are confidential, private personnel records and ‘internal personnel practice’ and therefore not subject to, or appropriate for unauthorized public disclosure by the city.” Police union lawyer Peter Perroni said he was quoted correctly in arguing that information in the arbitrator's ruling about “awards” to Goodwin is a personnel record and therefore not public under the state’s Right to Know law.

Perroni said last week, "Tom has, of course, quoted me accurately and the passage reflects the union’s position regarding the city’s legal obligations on this issue."

Following Friday's Police Commission meeting, Closson said he would be contacting attorney Greg Sullivan, who is representing the Herald. Sullivan said he will file with the Rockingham County Superior Court next week.

The arbitrator's ruling comes more than three years after Goodwin was fired for accepting a large inheritance from the late Geraldine Webber, an elderly resident with dementia. Goodwin was fired in June 2015 by former police chief Stephen DuBois “after extensive review of the findings of the Roberts report,” the former Police Commission announced.

The report was the conclusion of an investigation led by retired judge Stephen Roberts and funded with $20,000 of city tax money, approved by the City Council. The Roberts report stated Goodwin violated three regulations in the Police Department’s Duty Manual and three regulations in the city’s Code of Ethics, all pertaining to his $2 million-plus inheritance from Webber. She died Dec. 11, 2012, at age 94.

Goodwin denied he unduly influenced Webber during a two-week probate court hearing in 2015. After the hearing, probate judge Gary Cassavechia, in a 63-page order, overturned Goodwin’s inheritance and wrote that Goodwin exerted undue influence over Webber “by acting upon her fears and hopes.” Webber was videotaped signing the dismissed trust befitting Goodwin when she spoke about the police officer in sexual terms.

Goodwin’s subsequently overturned inheritance temporarily diminished inheritances to two medical charities and the city’s police and fire departments, each one-quarter beneficiaries in Webber’s 2009 will, while also eliminating her only living heir, a grandson.