Cheers to Gov. Paul LePage and his quick-acting legal counsel, Dan Billings, in announcing they will propose legislation in the current session to close a loophole in Maine’s ethics laws to provide greater government transparency.
The loophole, which shields high-level state officials from mandatory reporting of state payments to their employers and/or organizations run by themselves or their spouses, was the focus of a recent Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting story. That story reported that, between 2003 and 2010, the state paid almost $235 million to these organizations without any disclosure to the public by the handful of public officials who benefited either personally or professionally from those payments.
In explaining why the governor’s office acted so quickly, attorney Billings noted that there are bound to be such conflicts in Maine’s citizen Legislature because many of the people we elect to serve hold on to their full-time jobs and work in those jobs around their legislative schedules. But, he said, “Everybody should know about it and then people can act properly and make sure everybody acts properly and make decisions accordingly.”
Senate President Kevin Raye, R-Perry, the lead sponsor on the legislation, is confident it will pass. And it should.
And, since Dems also appear to support the change, it should be smooth sailing for this common-sense bill drafted in the public interest.
Closing the loophole doesn’t force an examination of every state official’s private finances, but it will require disclosure of state payments made to high-level officials who are in positions to influence public spending.
It’s the right thing to do.
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What is the matter with people?
In Wilton on Sunday, a woman was charged with assaulting family members, a police officer and a paramedic as the group worked to subdue her after police were called for a report of a domestic assault.
In Farmington, also on Sunday, a Farmington police officer was punched in the face as she attempted to guide a drunk man away from the middle of a busy street.
Most people can get through a work shift without getting punched, screamed at or otherwise abused. That’s not the case for police officers, paramedics, nurses and others who serve as first responders on our streets and in our emergency rooms.
It’s tough duty under trying circumstances, and getting punched for doing your job just makes it so much harder.
So, thank a cop. Or a nurse. Or an EMT. It might make up for the abuse they have to put up with in the name of public safety.
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Cheers to the Auburn Public Works Department.
While its attack on city streets during the Dec. 21 storm was less than satisfactory, the work done to clear streets during Thursday’s storm was outstanding.
On Monday, the Auburn City Council heard a report from Assistant Public Works Director Denis D’Auteuil about the less-than-rapid storm response last month, and D’Auteuil vowed to send out trucks earlier if there was any danger of an ice storm.
There was, and he did.
The opinions expressed in this column reflect the views of the ownership and editorial board.