Monday, March 10, 2014
AUGUSTA - Just before Christmas, Gov.-elect Paul LePage announced his decision to add his daughter Lauren to his staff. Many have been fixated on what Lauren LePage gets by joining the incoming governor's staff. Please take just a second and think about why this is a smart and honest move for Paul LePage.
Paul LePage answers questions about his candidacy during a session with reporters in September in Augusta. At right is his daughter Lauren, 22, who has been hired as an assistant by the governor-elect's administration. She will be paid $41,000 a year.
Staff file photo
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dan Demeritt is communications director for Gov.-elect Paul LePage.
Paul LePage is about to become the chief executive officer of the state of Maine. He is promising to bring dramatic change to the way Maine works, and the political establishment in Augusta is beating the war drum.
The state employees union is telling its members they are in for the fight of their lives, and word on the street is that the Maine People's Alliance is already circulating a petition to remove Paul LePage from office. Luck favors the prepared, I suppose.
Going into what is certain to be an intense battle for Maine's future, Paul LePage is seeking the counsel and assistance of people who are loyal to him and his agenda. Who better to watch out for his interests than his daughter in a key assistant position?
You can search from Maine to California and you will not find someone more qualified to serve in a position of trust in a LePage administration than a LePage. Lauren has been training for key elements of this job since birth. Fortunately, she also has the discretion, drive and savvy to excel at it.
Now for the honesty. Paul LePage is not the type of leader who concerns himself with the nitpicking and the micromanaging that occurs on editorial pages, the blogosphere and message boards. A guy who has gone from living on the streets of Lewiston to running a company with 1,000 employees simply does not concern himself with anonymous comments on a newspaper's website.
Paul's vision for Maine is coming together in budget meetings, planning sessions, red-tape audit workshops and interviews for key positions in the administration. He is going to stay focused on doing the job he was elected to do and stand accountable to the people of Maine for his performance on the things that matter: creating jobs, making welfare work, and getting kids an education they can use to become productive Maine citizens.
In business and for the next four years in Augusta, tangible results are what count. Did we pay the hospitals, did we make it easier to create jobs, and is our tax burden going down? Everything else is just noise to be ignored.
This is not about helping Lauren LePage -- the governor-elect could have done that in any number of politically safe ways. Hiring Lauren was about adding another valuable member to the team in a straightforward and transparent way. We disclosed the position, the salary and Lauren's resume with the understanding that people had the right to know.
Some are not happy with Lauren's salary, arguing it is too much for a young person right out of college. The number did not come from thin air. It is consistent with the existing pay range and is appropriate when you consider the amount of work and the level of responsibility that goes with a position of trust in the office of Maine's chief executive.
My former Colby College professor, Sandy Maisel, said the hiring decision nearly took his breath away.
Find a chair, professor, because Paul LePage is going to make decisions that he thinks are right for Maine without giving a second thought to the political considerations. Everyone should get ready for an eventful, productive and prosperous new year.
- Special to the Press Herald