Jonathan Labonte holds two political positions, one state and one municipal. He is the appointed director of the governor’s Office of Policy and Management, “established … in 2012 to help implement the positions of the Executive Branch” for the LePage administration. As the elected mayor of Auburn, it is his duty to promote the city’s interests, answering to Auburn’s citizens and businesses.

In order to avoid conflicts of interest, Auburn’s charter does not permit the mayor to hold any other elected position. Even though, under the current charter, the mayor’s two positions are not recognized as being in direct conflict, they should be viewed as being in apparent conflict. The conflict certainly has become clear during budget season when the state budget impacts municipal budgets, e.g., revenue sharing, school funding, etc.

Labonte participates in the development of the governor’s budget. This year, the mayor even presented that budget to a group in Auburn. Particularly, with respect to revenue sharing, Labonte has stood with the governor and not with the other service center mayors. His focus has, and continues to be, conflicted.

Might citizens of Auburn deserve better and seek a mayor that is free of even apparent conflict?

Robert Hayes, Auburn

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