AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Maine Democrats and the head of the state employees' union are upset by what they see as a plan by the administration of GOP Gov. Paul LePage to use state employees to help get Republicans re-elected.
An internal memo written last month by LePage spokesman Dan Demeritt concluded with the phrase the LePage administration "will put 11,000 bureaucrats to work getting Republicans re-elected."
"I don't care if it's a Democratic governor or a Republican governor, we shouldn't see this type of perceived politicization of folks who are just trying to go to their job every day, do what the people of Maine want them to do and go home and be with their families," said Maine State Employees Association Executive Director Chris Quint. "This is stepping outside the bounds of what a governor of the state of Maine should be doing."
But Demeritt said the memo, written before LePage took office, contained nothing inappropriate and that it shouldn't be taken literally.
"This was about — during the transition — taking a forward look at opportunities we'd have as Republicans to work together as we implemented our agenda and made government work," Demeritt said. "It wasn't about asking state employees to pound in yard signs or put bumper stickers on their cars. It was about being effective enacting our agenda and taking every opportunity we could to put a spotlight on it."
Democratic Party Chairman Ben Grant said LePage must denounce the plan.
"Using state resources to influence partisan elections is a clear violation of a statute prohibiting state employees from engaging in partisan political activity in their capacity as state employees," Grant said. "The 11,000 men and women who work in Maine state government are not political pawns."