LePage administration purges DHHS of four more appointees

AUGUSTA — Officials at the Department of Health and Human Services confirmed Thursday that four program directors have been relieved of their duties by the LePage administration.

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Gov. Paul LePage

DHHS employees were notified of the staff changes late Wednesday in an email from Commissioner Mary Mayhew.

The four directors are considered political appointments who serve at the pleasure of the commissioner. This brings to eight the number of people LePage has jettisoned at DHHS since taking office in January. The governor also fired former MaineCare Medical Director Dora Anne Mills. Mills, who held a contract position, was let go in February.

Wednesday's firings involved Don Chamberlain and Ronald Welch, who both headed the Adult Mental Health Services program; Diana Scully of Elder Services; and Jane Gallivan of Adults with Cognitive and Physical Disabilities.

All were appointed by Gov. John Baldacci.

Anthony Marple, head of MaineCare Services, was let go in February. James Beogher, who headed the Child and Family Services program, was relieved of his duties last month. Russ Begin, deputy commissioner of finance, was released earlier this year.

Jennifer Duddy, director for legislative relations, left shortly after she was hired by Mayhew in March.

In her message to DHHS employees, Mayhew wrote, "These changes continue the assembly of a new leadership team at DHHS as part of the new administration. The primary goal remains meeting the needs of Maine people within existing resources through a system that is more integrated, efficient and cost-effective."

Mayhew, in a statement released Thursday morning, declined to say why the changes were made, citing that the issue was a personnel matter.

Sen. Margaret Craven, D-Lewiston, the ranking Democrat on the Legislature's Health and Human Services Committee, blasted the firings, saying the decision was a political move that comes at the expense of expertise and experience at an overwhelmed department.

Craven blamed Mayhew for caving to the governor.

"Not only am I disappointed in this decision, I'm also disappointed in Commissioner Mayhew's management curve," Craven said. "She was hired to manage this important agency and now she's gutting it for purely political reasons."

The latest move comes in the wake of DHHS criticism from the leaders of conservative groups who say the department is in need of a cultural overhaul.

LePage declined to directly comment on the shakeup.

"What I can tell you is when there is a new (administration), political appointment changes are to be expected," said Adrienne Bennett, the governor's spokeswoman. "As far as the cultural change — we must ensure that all state workers are focusing on their department's mission."

Mayhew said Guy Cousins will serve as acting director of the Office of Adult Mental Health Services while remaining director of the Office of Substance Abuse. Ricker Hamilton, an employee within the Office of Elder Services, will assume the director’s role at OES and serve as acting director for the Office of Adults with Physical and Cognitive Disabilities Services.

smistler@sunjournal.com

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Comments

Jerome Young's picture

It seems Mr. Mistler is

It seems Mr. Mistler is currently keeeping up his campaign to vilify Gov. LePage. He must be on the same team that ENDORSED Mr. Cutler. Politically appointed dept heads were let go. Emphasis on politically appointed. No actual departments were dissolved, diminished or reduced....except maybe....salaries that really weren't needed. Except, needed for "soft landing jobs" for those who supported the last administration's agenda. We are getting tired of guilty by "inference." Coupled in this article, (I am being generous) is the "firing" of Dora Mills. Dora Mills is a wonderfull person. She is a far more talented Doc than a politician. As evidenced by the multiple Mainecare fraud cases, revealed since Gov LePage was inaugurated. I think what Gov Lepage did with Dora was gracious. He let her go and took the "heat." So stop with the vilification by inference without knowing what is really going on and scaring the hell out of people with these ridiculous articles. All writing is emphasis, tone, and intent. In writing this article I am surprised you didn't bring up oh no... Mural gate!

Randall Berry's picture

Jane Gallivan

I remember Ms Gallivan working with Sawin Millett during the King Administration at the Dept. of MHMRSAS. I remember her as an honest, dedicated individual with the needs of the people she was charged to serve at heart. Always a difficult task with limited resources and growing demands and expectations. I hope she was not excluded from the Gov.'s pension incentive. Good luck to all of them and thank you for your service to the State of Maine.

"These changes continue the

"These changes continue the assembly of a new leadership team at DHHS as part of the new administration," Mayhew wrote. "The primary goal remains meeting the needs of Maine people within existing resources through a system that is more integrated, efficient and cost-effective...This is the same crap given to us at BIW when they want to cut down the amount of people at work, but get the same or more work out of us..pass it on to others to do the work of several people..Hope the ones that stuck by him have to pick up the slack..we'll see how long they last when they can't fill the shoes of those they fired..LePage is a loser in my book and I am entitled to my opinion..he will not stop until this State is so dysfuntional, and all those people that are praising this idiot, had better hope that the services provided by these agencies are never needed by them, because they will be the ones crying the loudest when they are DENIED SERVICES...you can bet your ass that he will take care of his family though..even if he has to do it illigally..Right Paul?????

Jason Theriault's picture

Obviously...

His daughter just earned a promotion!

Roberta Greenlaw's picture

firings

go Paul go trust in God and clean house. Do the job you were hired to do and said you would get done

CLAIRE GAMACHE's picture

Priorities

Well I guess we now know what is important in Augusta. The sign, the mural, prayer day=important. Mental health, the elderly, jobs=not important. I'm all for getting rid of political appointees but it is interesting that he should focus there instead of say his own office or the legislature.

Bob Deschenes's picture

Priorities

Well done. Bravely said and he should also let go his financial expert who said he did not think anything happenning inwashington would affect Maine.

 's picture

firing by e-mail, what a

firing by e-mail, what a bunch of cowards taliban paul has hired. no integrity among them.

Ray St. Onge's picture

wrong

Dan, at the risk of making you look foolish again. The article does not say they were fired by email, but that the DHHS staff was notified of the staff changes.

Bob Deschenes's picture

wrong

Dan at the risk of making you look foolish again. There were men and women fired Had he used an e-mail the women would have stayed on. He would have had to use she-mails

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