Let’s imagine you are starting a business,  ABC Consulting.

You need 13 employees, including a manager. So you advertise, compare resumes, interview and check references before hiring.

Then, on the first day of work you are having lunch with your new employees when one mentions he used to be a Democratic House member from Bangor.

Another employee says, “Hey, that’s interesting, because I’m a Democrat running for the House.”

Then, strangely, another pipes up and says she is also a candidate for the House.

Stranger yet, another employee says she is a Democratic House member and is running again.

You are pondering all these strange coincidences when another employee says she is also a Democratic stalwart and was a “traveling aide” for Libby Mitchell during her gubernatorial campaign

Not to be outdone, another employee says he’s a big Democratic donor who worked on the Obama campaign in Maine and gave $4,900 to that campaign and the national Democratic Party.

Then another employee pipes up that he has been a “Democratic activist” for years.

Finally, your office manager says he’s also a Democrat who donated thousands to various Democratic causes.

Your head is spinning at this point. What are the odds, you think, of starting a small company and randomly hiring four Democratic politicians and four Democratic activists?

That must be about as likely as dropping a penny and having it land on its edge.  Or like falling from an airplane and landing safely in a haystack. Just unbelievable.

And that’s why we are having such a hard time believing that the Maine Green Energy Alliance just happened to put so many Democratic loyalists on its payroll. Their explanation is just unbelievable.

Especially when you consider the organization was founded and funded through the efforts of another Democrat, former Baldacci administration lawyer Thomas Federle, whose law firm eventually did $47,000 worth of work for the organization.

Beyond that, the federal grant money involved was originally designated for a completely different project that fell through.

All of which makes one wonder whether money was spent on the best people for the job, or just loyal Democrats who needed jobs.

None of which would probably even be an issue today if they had even done their jobs, which were to educate and sign Maine residents up for home energy audits and retrofits.

The group’s goal was to sign up 1,000 households in 12 months. After six months, it had signed up only 50 at an average cost of $2,700 per household — and that’s just to sign them up, not to fix their homes.

After the Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting began asking questions, the group announced it was folding and returning its unused grant money to another organization.

At the time it folded, the group had spent — or wasted — about $356,000. The balance of its funding will be returned to its parent organization, Efficiency Maine, which will spend it on actual programs to heat and weatherize homes.

The lesson to be drawn from this experience, however, is equally applicable to Democrats and Republicans.

Taxpayer money is too precious to be spent on made-up programs employing political insiders.

Doing so doesn’t only look bad, it is bad.

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The opinions expressed in this column reflect the views of the ownership and editorial board.


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