Baldacci’s media chief leaving


AUGUSTA (AP) – Little more than a year after joining the administration, Crystal Canney is leaving her post as Gov. John Baldacci’s communications chief.

Sources within the administration and the Legislature confirmed the planned departure Wednesday. Canney was not in her office.

Baldacci’s chief of staff, Jane Lincoln, said Canney was out sick and that the administration had not planned to make an announcement right away.

The governor’s three-person press office includes Canney, Deputy Director of Communications Joy Leach and Assistant Press Secretary Dan Cashman.

A former television reporter, Canney became the leader of the governor’s media operation in December 2005 and took a central role in managing the delivery of his policy and political messages.

Canney has proven to be popular with colleagues and been given high marks for being willing to assume multiple duties.

One chore that she picked up was to advise Baldacci on image, in effect helping work out a sort of makeover that enlivened the chief executive’s wardrobe.

Canney, who is originally from Old Town, started in television in Bangor in 1985 and worked for WGME-TV in Portland for more than a decade.

Since Baldacci’s re-election in November, there have been a number of personnel changes within the administration, and more appear to be in the offing.

Among those undertaken so far, there has been a reorganization of the governor’s own office, with former State Budget Officer Ryan Low being named deputy chief of staff and Economic and Community Development Department chief Jack Cashman rejoining the staff as senior economic adviser.

Additionally, upon Tom Federle’s return to private practice, Michael Mahoney has been named legal counsel.

Also moving into the office as a senior policy adviser is Karin Tilberg, who has been the deputy commissioner of the Conservation Department.

Baldacci’s second term got under way last week with his swearing-in and inaugural address, an inaugural gala and the release of his proposed budget package for the upcoming two-year budget cycle.

Elements within the proposed Baldacci budget include some Cabinet-level reorganization including the creation of a Department of Commerce that would combine the existing departments of Economic and Community Development and of Professional and Financial Regulation.

AP-ES-01-10-07 1801EST