AUGUSTA — The chief operating officer for the Maine Department of Health and Human Services is leaving his post to return to the private sector, according a spokesman for the agency.

According to DHHS spokesman John Martins, William Boeschenstein Jr. of Cape Elizabeth, who served with DHHS since March 2011, will be replaced by Sam Adolphsen, who was promoted to deputy commissioner of finance at the agency in December 2013.

Martins said Boeschenstein’s last day with DHHS was Friday, May 2.

“We had been aware for some months of Bill’s desire to pursue other interests in the private sector and to be closer to his home and his family,” Martins wrote in an email to the Sun Journal. “Bill agreed to stay on through the end of the recent legislative session.”

Adolphsen, the former director of the conservative Maine Heritage Policy Center’s Center for Open Government and the organization’s former director of government and external affairs, was appointed deputy commissioner of finance by DHHS Commissioner Mary Mayhew on Dec. 2.

As director of strategic development at the department, Adolphsen oversaw the awarding of a nearly $1 million no-bid contract for a Medicaid study to the Rhode Island-based Alexander Group, which came under fire from Democratic lawmakers, who tried to stop the contract.

Alec Porteous has joined DHHS in Adolphsen’s former role.

Porteous earned his undergraduate degree at Colby College and a Master of Business Administration at the Johnson School at Cornell University, according to the statement issued by Martins.

“Alec has a diverse background in the private and government sectors,” Martins wrote. Porteous has worked as a state office representative, finance director and legislative assistant for U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine.

He also served in the private sector for two years as a policy adviser focused on financial services.

Boeschenstein was a key figure in an investigation and hearings over improper document shredding by top officials at the Maine Center for Disease Control.

And in January he told the Legislature’s Government Oversight Committee that the agency could do more to clarify which documents it should retain and which it should destroy.

CDC workers, he said, should have been aware of the need to be fair and transparent in their dealings. Shredding documents, he agreed, was not consistent with transparency.

“I would say that if a person knowingly knew that a document was to be retained and they ordered it shredded, that is wrong,” Boeschenstein said at the time. “However, there’s a lot of gray area about what should be retained.” 

He also acknowledged the methodology for determining funding levels for local organizations that participate in the state’s Healthy Maine Partnerships program was flawed and “poorly implemented.” 

According to the state’s Maine Open Checkbook website, which details state employee compensation and other state expenditures, Boeschenstein was paid  $97,294 in salary in 2013 and received health care benefits valued at $15,318.

When hired by the administration of Republican Gov. Paul LePage, DHHS heralded his, “more than 30 years of experience in the banking and energy industries,” and also stated that, “Boeschenstein has worked for large, multi-billion dollar organizations in both the United States and England.”

Most recently, Boeschenstein founded, ran and eventually sold his own business, which specialized in managing investment risks in energy for major corporations.

“Bill has managed large teams throughout his career and is a quick learner,” DHHS Commissioner Mary Mayhew said in a prepared statement announcing his hiring. “His expertise in operations, strategic planning and financial analysis has helped create results-based work environments that stress teamwork, personal accountability and customer service excellence.”

Boeschenstein, a graduate of Harvard College, also worked on LePage’s transition team.  

Adolphsen and Porteous started in their new roles Monday, according to Martins.

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