PERU — Bill Hine of Peru has announced that he is running as an independent candidate for the office of Oxford County treasurer.

 The announcement follows the vote on June 8 by Oxford County residents to keep the position an elected one.

“The debate over the initiative to appoint the treasurer generated more heat than light,” Hine said. Voters were understandably cautious given what appeared to be partisan wrangling between Republican county commissioners and a Democratic incumbent eager to keep his job.”

 Hine said he believes that the time is right for a nonparty candidate to fill the position.

“The parties have in the past used the treasurer’s office as a sinecure,” he explained, “where the work actually performed is not always aligned with the compensation paid.”

Hine proposes that the treasurer’s salary be changed to an hourly wage for time worked. This would ensure that the treasurer is not paid for work now performed by the two full-time deputy treasurers.

 Hine also intends, if elected, to opt out of the health benefit now awarded to the treasurer. 

“In these tough economic times, it seems unfair for a part-time treasurer to get health coverage typically available only to full-time employees. At no time should the government be outbidding private-sector employers for human resources.”

 Private-sector job creation was a high priority for Hine during his 2008 campaign for the Maine House of Representatives, and it remains so, he said.

“Little has changed in two years. If anything, things have gotten worse. Jobs in Maine are down. Government revenues are down. We have yet to hit bottom. It is imperative that government budgets be trimmed so that we can turn our entrepreneurs loose.”

 An independent in the county treasurer’s office, in his view, can facilitate the collaboration needed to identify administrative efficiencies. “The economic challenges facing us are real, and they are persistent,” warns Hine. “We need to work hard, work together, and work across party lines to move the county ahead.”

Hine is a 1971 graduate of Yale University and has experience in municipal government. He chaired Peru’s Board of Selectmen, Finance Committee and Appeals Board. He was instrumental in helping to draft Peru’s first comprehensive plan, which was adopted by the Town in 2006.

Hine currently serves on the boards of both the River Valley Growth Council as treasurer and the River Valley Healthy Communities Coalition. He is a longtime member of the Rumford mill’s Community Advisory Panel. Past appointments include the Maine Air Toxics Initiative, the Northern Oxford County Coalition, the Region 7 Transportation Advisory Committee, and the Caribou-Speckled Wilderness Study Committee.

 Hine has lived in Peru for 28 years. He is married to Cathy Hazelton, a self-employed speech pathologist, and is the father of Larissa and Brett. His blog, The View From Western Maine, offers commentary on macroeconomics, financial markets, and government spending.

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