LePage stirs ruckus after calling state workers ‘corrupt’

AUGUSTA, Maine — It’s no big secret that Gov. Paul LePage wants to shrink state government, but he took that idea a step further on Thursday by maligning an entire block of state workers as “corrupt.”

According to press accounts of the event, LePage was asked a question about fees at the latest town hall forum in Newport. Here’s how he responded:

“Believe me, there is a lot of good and hardworking people that work for the state. They are not the problem,” he said, according to press accounts of the event in Newport. “The problem is the middle management of the state is about as corrupt as you can be. Believe me, we’re trying every day to get them to go to work, but it’s hard.”

He offered no proof of corruption, no data to back his case that these managers don’t work and he didn’t identify a specific department. He did go on to talk about how most of these employees are not appointed by him and are protected through union contracts.

For the better part of a year, the LePage administration has sparred with the state’s largest union, the Maine State Employees Association, over a new collective bargaining agreement. That protracted fight is likely to be settled through court proceedings.

The MSEA was the first group to take exception to LePage’s latest comments.

“All Mainers can take great pride in the men and women who work for the state of Maine,” Ginette Rivard, the union’s president, said in a statement. “These public workers do important work for all Maine people. For Gov. LePage to call them ‘corrupt’ is baseless and insulting to every public worker who has dedicated their lives to making Maine a great place to live, work and raise a family.”

“In the 16 months since taking office, Gov. LePage has met with just about every business owner willing to meet with him. We invite him to start spending some time with his own employees.”

LePage often has talked about shrinking government and that push is part of a national narrative by the Republican Party. But this is the first time LePage has targeted state workers specifically.

Since he took office, LePage has tried to push what’s known as right-to-work or fair-share legislation that would make union fees voluntary for nonunion members. So far, the Legislature hasn’t passed those bills.

Two bills did pass this past session that took away union rights from two groups: independent childcare providers and employees of the former Decoster Egg Farm in Turner.

In the past, LePage has said he has no problem with unions, just doesn’t like union bosses, but Thursday’s comments seemed to suggest otherwise.

Sen. Dawn Hill, D-Cape Neddick, said Mainers deserve leaders who work for them, not against them.

“The governor’s negative name calling is unacceptable and unprofessional,” Hill said. “He is making unfounded accusations against hard working Mainers. His divisive rhetoric must end and the conversation must return to a place of civility.”

Rep. Ken Fredette, R-Newport, called the comments “out of line” and said the governor should apologize.

In less than 16 months as governor, LePage has earned a reputation for talking bluntly. Even before he was elected, LePage caused a stir when he told a crowd that he would tell President Barack Obama to “go to hell.”

Two weeks after taking office, he stirred up a controversy when he called the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People a special-interest group and told critics to “kiss my butt” over his decision to not attend the NAACP’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebrations.

He later raised eyebrows when he dismissed the dangers of a chemical additive used in some plastic bottles by saying the worst that could happen was “some women may have little beards.”

A year ago, he riled labor groups, artists and others by removing a huge mural depicting the state’s labor history from the Labor Department headquarters. When asked what he’d do if anybody tried to block the mural from being taken down, he said, “I’d laugh at them, the idiots.”

LePage’s spokeswoman, Adrienne Bennett, said Friday that the governor believes there is great work being done by thousands of state employees, but he is intent on changing the mindset in state government.

“When you have employees who insist to maintain the status quo and delay progress within an administration, it is — in the governor’s view — corruptible behavior,” she said. “When an employee is being told by the union to ‘ride it out,’ that to the governor is corruptive behavior.

“What the governor is describing is a lack of integrity, and that by definition is correct.”

Corrupt, in dictionary terms, is used synonymously with spoiled, rotten or contaminated. In most cases, though, corruption refers to unethical, inscrutable or illegal behavior.

The Associated Press contributed to this story. Follow BDN writer Eric Russell on Twitter@BDNPolitics.

Alex Barber, Bangor Daily News

Gov. Paul LePage (right) speaks to a crowd at Nokomis High School in Newport during a town hall meeting on Thursday, April 26, 2012. Department of Transportation Commissioner David Bernhardt looks on.

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Comments

FRANK EARLEY's picture

I'm sorry, this almost requires a comment

This latest foot in mouth indecent will go a long way toward the results of his re election...

FRANK EARLEY's picture

Sorry

I mean incident, spell check hasn't had enough coffee yet.

FRANK EARLEY's picture

come to think of it

Either way it still works for me....

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

A Dale Carnegie course might

A Dale Carnegie course might be on tap for the Guv.

Richard Begin's picture

Governor Lepage' Remarks

Some will understand that I am a Vocal supporter of Governor Lepage. That Said I agree with many that he really needs to either say less or think long and clear about what exactly he does say.

It becomes increasingly more difficult to support him, when he makes the Kind of remarks that he does.What ever Gains that his leadership have Earned .They are being Quickly eroded by his lack of Thinking before he Speaks.

Can I get a Witness ??

Richard Begin's picture

The Dreaded N***I word

I am and have always been both a Strong Advocate for the Survival of Isreal. I also understand that what took place in Post WWI in Germany could easily happen again in an other location.

What those Animals did to Humanity was unforgivable and along with the Japanese and what they did to our Soldiers during WWII I will never forgive them either.I just completed a Book titled First into Nagasaki by George Weller I suggesst all who are sympathetic to what I am saying should read it.

Steve I'm working on a Picture. I am just very busy with the Politcal Season and other Projects.

Steve  Dosh's picture

LePage stirs ruckus after calling state workers ‘corrupt’

Eric, 12.04.28 14:14 hst • 
Whelp , we had the teflon President already
. . l o l . .what's the expression ?
" The stuƒƒ flows downhill . "
http://farm7.staticflickr.com/6110/6284163159_6bc182fe2d_z.jpg /s, Steve

Jacqueline Libby DeLasso's picture

Ruckus!

WTH????? This jack-wagon has been nothing but an arrogant, pompous individual (read between the lines as to what i want to say but can not) since he took office..to insult the Maine State workers??????? They have more class in their little finger than he has in his whole miserable opinionated body!
Bad enough he takes away the rights for the independent childcare, the cuts for the Special needs groups, the lack of concern for our elderly. He needs to be impeached if that is possible! Senator Snowe was a class act, and to be admired for getting the hell out when she did!
Small beards on women? What a discriminating creep, I do not care if he is
a Governor (loosest sense of the word.) I am fed up with this pathetic piece of work who is supposed to be setting an example for us, and to be in the highlights representing our state..obviously it is our state because he sure as hell does not know how to run it or represent us!
Get him out of office!!!!!!!! We the people of Maine need to take our state back.
What ever happened to likes of Governor Curtis, Governor King, to name a couple that gave a crap about the people and not their arrogant image. Get someone in that has some kind of intelligence, and that does not let his alligator mouth overpower is canary backside! Just saying!

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Guess you're not a fan, huh?

Guess you're not a fan, huh?

Steve  Dosh's picture

Paul, Saturday 14:30 hst •

Paul, Saturday 14:30 hst •
You maintain a firm grasp on the obvious . Is your State A G a Democrat or a Republican ? (i .e., The Maine State Attorney General and his staff ) The problem with - a t t a c k i n g - your own staff is that there are usually many more of them than you , whomever you think you might be , eventually
Auburn has free lunch for the kids at school ? Free laptops , too ? Good move ?
h t h ? Steve http:/ww.despair.com toungue firmly planted in cheek *<;Q~

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

The governor's style of

The governor's style of public relations is pretty caustic at times; make that often. I thought that free breakfast for highschoolers would light up your board. After all, it's all 'free money'; it comes from the government.

Jacqueline Libby DeLasso's picture

Ruckus

Uh that would be a NO!
Sorry not intended to offend anyone, just saying my thoughts, after all
he does! lmao!

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

No offense taken. I was

No offense taken. I was teasing.

Bill Whitman's picture

BUFFOONERY

I used to have a card that said: "Put brain in gear before opening mouth" - a credo our "beloved buffoon" evidently does not subscribe to. oh well, only 2 more years of being the laughingstock of the entire world.
i saw a bumper sticker that describes our governor(???) best - it sez "Impeach the bumptious buffoon" - couldn't have said it better myself.
i think he just keeps insulting the lowest paid workers in the world hoping they will quit so he can hire more of his relatives.

Richard Begin's picture

Rep Fredette

Mr Burbank perhaps you need to get out more often

Steve  Dosh's picture

Dick ? 14:41 Sat. hst

Dick ?
14:41 Sat. hst • 
Begin to post a picture :)
it's E Z to do •
/s, Steve

Tony Morin's picture

Negative Nelly's

I am tired of having an incredibly negative mayor and governor, who frequently malign the city, state and citizenry: "filthy," "lazy," "corrupt." It's like having our very own balcony residing Statler and Waldorf. When will this experiment be over????

Robert Groetzinger's picture

“The problem is the middle

“The problem is the middle management of the state is about as corrupt as you can be.

Seems he has a problem with the middle.

Richard Begin's picture

Right on Brother lepage Right On

I see nothing wrong with the Gubner heer. It's certainly no surprise that his remarks and Observations have hit Home.Now as far as Dawn Hill is concerned,

Well Dawn did cause the eventuall discoverey of the Corruption of MTA Director Paul Violette but that does not excuse her for taking issue with the Governor on Partisan Lines.When Governor Lepage thinks out loud as he was doing during this Event, There is always a singular Cell of those 'Lurking'around every Dark Corner.

These Deviants in this Case are the Democratic front line Characters similar to the kind of Subjects that one might see at a 'WhaK-A-Mole concession at the local Carnival event.

For Example Representative Fredette. Now he is suddenly outraged at the Truth spoken by Governor Lepage.Now here is a different Twist.

If we Examine Mr Fredette his Illustrious Past will speak Volumnes of his desire to Please Everyone.

Of course Mr fredette is one of those rare Breed Republicans who does not possess enough 'Common Sense to come in out of the Rain'

Instead Fredette will like the Weasel that he is more than Likely fail to Understand His Governor, the Elected leader of his Party 'Then as is the Usual Occurrance; 'A Confederacy of Dunces" will Form'

And in the Center will be the Usual Suspects such as Ms Hill and Sir'Duke' Fredette . He will Turn himself inside out

Just to curry favor with those who he thinks need a Voice.

I say Good for you Governor Lepage' Give Em Hell' Paul'

It is fair to assume that Governor Lepage has a finely Tuned Focus about what he is suggessting

What is good enough for Him is Good enough for Me.

Walter Burbank's picture

Rep Fredette

I live in Auburn and had not even heard of Rep. Fredette before. I now have a Republican that I can like.

Zack Lenhert's picture

Sorry to be a grammar nazi

Sorry to be a grammar nazi but.... your post is hard to read with all of the misplaced capital letters. Usually when "He/Him" his capitalized it refers to God, but maybe that's what you were trying to imply.

Richard Begin's picture

Grammar Task Master Zack

Zack nice of you to comment I'll take your remarks under advisement. I do not ever Use the N***I Word.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

What? We don't dare say that

What? We don't dare say that N word either?

Steve  Dosh's picture

. . Nope ? 

. . Nope ? 

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

So, "H" (just in case we

So, "H" (just in case we can't say that, either) attacked France with his hordes of (substitute for "N" word) Hun Crusaders?

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

"Hey, Pirate, what's that

"Hey, Pirate, what's that being flushed down the toilet?", asked the curious parrot. "Freedom of Speech", replied the Pirate.

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