Acting director of State Planning Office asked to resign after OUI

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AUGUSTA — The LePage administration confirmed Tuesday it forced out Richard Swanson Jr., acting director of the State Planning Office, following his arrest in Waterville on Monday on a charge of drunken driving.

Former Auburn resident Peter Rogers, now of Yarmouth, will become acting director.

Swanson’s resignation was originally reported by the Waterville Sentinel.

Gov. Paul LePage assigned Swanson to the SPO post in November.

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Swanson also served as the campaign treasurer for LePage during his run for governor in 2010 and is serving in the same capacity for Maine People Before Politics, a group that advocates for the governor’s policies. 

Swanson told the Sentinel on Tuesday that the administration asked him to submit his resignation and he did.  

Swanson told the paper that LePage, who has been in Florida over the past few days, called his chief of staff to ask Swanson to resign. He submitted a two-sentence resignation letter thanking the governor for allowing him to serve. 

The newspaper said Swanson, 64, was arrested on Lincoln Street in Waterville at 11:27 p.m. Monday, after getting stopped by Waterville police for, they said, erratically driving his 2008 Saab. 

Chief Joseph Massey told the Sentinel that Swanson’s blood-alcohol content was more than 0.08, the legal threshold. Swanson told the newspaper Tuesday morning, “I blew a 0.11; there was a time when that wasn’t even over the limit.”

Swanson was appointed to the SPO post following the resignation of Livermore Falls resident Darryl Brown. Brown had been overseeing the dismantling of the agency after a conflict of interest matter forced him from his job as head of the Department of Environmental Protection.

John McGough, LePage’s chief of staff, said Tuesday afternoon that Rogers would move over to SPO to become acting director. Rogers, LePage’s communications director, had announced last week that he was leaving that post to pursue other opportunities.  

Early this afternoon, Brent Littlefield, LePage’s senior political consultant and a member of the governor’s 2010 campaign, said, “It is an unfortunate situation. I was made aware of this a few hours ago. We have not made any determinations at this time” about Swanson’s future with Maine People Before Politics or the LePage re-election campaign.

smistler@sunjournal.com

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