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Unable To Hire Cabinet Due to Pay Limits, ME Gov-Elect LePage Hires Daughter. REALLY.

Chalk up another to the “You Can’t Make This Shite Up” Files. Oh, we’re having LOTS of fun up here in Maine- not just blizzards, but a series of snowjobs!

During the election season, we up here in Maine heard a LOT about how much taxpayer dollars were being wasted on state employees. How we needed a CHANGE; a fresh approach!

Then immediately after winning with a resounding mandate of 38.1% of the vote, Paul LePage declared that he was going to hire the best and the brightest, as well as swore there would be transparency in everything he did.

Did anyone ELSE think this was a load of buffalo gigolo bullshite?

Well, we were RIGHT.

The “snow” first started to fly a few weeks ago when the Gubinator decided to hire Teabagger Extraordinaire Maine Refounder/ Paint Maine Red leader Pete “The Carpenter” Harring as part of his transition team. Ole “Pete the Red” is infamous for this quote:

“Liberals are like slinkys and that’s because they bring a smile to your face when you push them down the stairs.”

Yeah. That really helps set a bi-partisan and professional gubernatorial tone, eh?

Then earlier this month, LePage made headlines, crying over how he wasn’t able to hire “the best and brightest” after all- because of the mean ole State of Maine rules that limit pay to Cabinet members! WAAAAAH!

AUGUSTA, Maine – Gov.-elect Paul LePage says he hopes to have his Cabinet named by the end of the year, but in an interview he acknowledged that state laws limiting how much he can pay those department heads have cost him some of his first choices.

“You try to get as much money as you possibly can for them, and if that is not enough, you have to go to No. 2, 3 and down the list,” he said. “I will emphatically say it is adversely affecting our ability to get the best people,” LePage said.

LePage said it is not only the private sector that is paying more than Maine state government, it is other state governments as well as he has searched nationwide to fill Cabinet positions.

“Not everyone can afford to take a 70 percent cut in pay to serve their state,” LePage said. He said he is taking a 70 percent cut from his salary as CEO at Marden’s. The governor’s salary is set in state law at $70,000.

But… but… we pay our state employees TOO MUCH, Paulie!

So, finding himself with absolutely no one else who could possibly be better qualified to work in the Statehouse, Paul LePage decided to hire someone with no political background- or work background, for that matter. His 22 year old daughter Lauren.

Dear Ole Dad Demonstrates for Lauren and media his best air guitar rendition of “Money Changes Everything”.

AUGUSTA, Maine – Gov.-elect Paul LePage has appointed his daughter, Lauren, to a staff position within the upper echelon of his administration, members of the LePage transition team said Wednesday.

Lauren LePage, 22, will serve as assistant to the governor’s chief of staff, John McGough – a position that administration officials describe as entry-level and is commensurate with her experience, work history and education.

LePage, a recent college graduate, will be a salaried political appointee earning approximately $41,000 a year, according to Dan Demeritt, incoming director of communications in the LePage administration.

Maine governors have wide discretion in creating staff positions within their offices, filling those positions and setting salaries. Because such appointments are political positions – known as “special assistants to the governor” – there are no rules barring Maine’s chief executive from hiring family members.

In a communication with the LePage team, Joyce Oreskovitch, acting director of human resources for the state, affirmed that Maine’s rules on prohibiting nepotism do not apply in such staffing decisions.

On Wednesday, Lauren LePage said that although she did not study politics in college, she enjoyed her work on the gubernatorial campaign and saw this as a unique opportunity.

Much more below the fold.Demeritt penned the following “Maine Opinion” published in spoiler Eliot Cutler’s bff Richard Connor’s rag, the previously revered Portland Press Herald. Some snips:

Maine Voices: Lauren LePage perfect choice to serve in a LePage administration

The governor-elect is wise to fill a key assistant position with someone he knows he can trust.

AUGUSTA – Just before Christmas, Gov.-elect Paul LePage announced his decision to add his daughter Lauren to his staff. Many have been fixated on what Lauren LePage gets by joining the incoming governor’s staff. Please take just a second and think about why this is a smart and honest move for Paul LePage.

Paul LePage is about to become the chief executive officer of the state of Maine. He is promising to bring dramatic change to the way Maine works, and the political establishment in Augusta is beating the war drum.

The state employees union is telling its members they are in for the fight of their lives, and word on the street is that the Maine People’s Alliance is already circulating a petition to remove Paul LePage from office.

Going into what is certain to be an intense battle for Maine’s future, Paul LePage is seeking the counsel and assistance of people who are loyal to him and his agenda. Who better to watch out for his interests than his daughter in a key assistant position?… Lauren has been training for key elements of this job since birth.

My former Colby College professor, Sandy Maisel, said the hiring decision nearly took his breath away.

Find a chair, professor, because Paul LePage is going to make decisions that he thinks are right for Maine without giving a second thought to the political considerations.

Anyone else think the Maine forest is gonna be decimated with the flood of FOIA filings??

And for the record, the LePage paranoia regarding a recall is unwarranted. But I gotta admit, the idea is an interesting one!

Here was the Maine Democratic Party’s press release reaction:

LePage Friends and Family Plan

Promise to hire ‘best and brightest’ only applies to family and friends

AUGUSTA- Yesterday, members of Governor-elect Paul LePage’s staff confirmed that LePage had hired his daughter, Lauren LePage, to a high-paid position within the upper levels of his administration.

Ms. LePage, 22, is a recent college graduate with a few months of political experience on her father’s campaign and will be earning approximately $41,000 per year. This figure is well above the current average for entry level jobs. According to the current administration, the average entry level salary is $30,000.

“While I’m sure Ms. LePage is a bright young woman, this brazen display of political nepotism is disturbing,” said Mary Erin Casale, executive director of the Maine Democratic Party.

“Gov.-elect LePage made a promise to hire the ‘best and the brightest’, but it would seem that only his friends and family need apply. Who else was considered for this position? How was it advertised? Why is an entry level position being paid $41,000 per year? These are questions that Mainers deserve answered.”

LePage campaigned on fiscal responsibility and complained about a ‘bloated’ government, yet just last week stated it was difficult to attract qualified candidates for commissioner positions due to low salaries. LePage also chose two close friends for commissioner positions – John Morris for Commissioner of Public Safety and Bill Beardsley to head the Department of Conservation.

“LePage hasn’t even been sworn in and he’s already going back on his campaign promises of attracting the best and the brightest. His staff and cabinets choices are his decision, but this ‘friends and family plan’ just displays the worst kind of business as usual,” said Casale.

From DownEast, the following reactions from Ben Grant of the Maine College Democrats:

Giving your daughter a job running the cash register at Marden’s is fine when you answer to no one except yourself, but the people of Maine expect more out of their state employees, and much better judgment from their Governor,” said MCD President Ben Goodman.

Other Mainers are furious as well as this disgusting act of placing family over an entire state, and a slew of anti-LePage websites and Facebook groups are rapidly popping up, thicker than mosquitoes, with some even having countdown clocks until he is out of office and a selection of bumper stickers.

A sampling:

When Life Gives You LePage.

Sh*t LePage Says.

Happy 2011, Paulie- and welcome to the Big Leagues. We don’t hold back- and we pitch them fast, hard and FURIOUS.  

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