December 12, 2012

Maine Democrats in bind over appointees' starting pay

The veteran office holders will be paid much less than two years ago unless lawmakers approve an extra $50,000.

By Steve Mistler smistler@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

Today's poll: Pay for state officers

Should the Legislature increase the salaries for constitutional officers who have served in those positions before?



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Newly-elected Speaker of the House Mark Eves of North Berwick, speaks Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012 at the swearing in ceremony for new representatives at the State House in Augusta, Maine. (AP Photo/Joel Page)


The same is expected for Pola Buckley, who was just elected state auditor, which has a starting salary of $81,566.

Democrats hold six seats on the nine-member Legislative Council, which will meet Wednesday to authorize salaries for the House clerk, the secretary of the Senate and Maine's three constitutional officers: treasurer, attorney general and secretary of state.

The council, composed of leaders in both chambers, was scheduled to vote on the matter last week but tabled it, indicating ambivalence among Democratic leaders.

The attorney general acts as the state's top lawyer, while the secretary of state oversees the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, state elections and corporations.

The House clerk manages a 10-person staff that supports the 151-member House. In addition to the printing and distribution of bills, the clerk oversees parliamentary proceedings during the session.

MacFarland retired after leaving the position in 2010. She was diagnosed in 2006 with cancer, for which she still receives treatment.

Quintero said McFarland's situation is complicated because of connections between her salary and her health and disability insurance.

Rep. Kenneth Fredette, R-Newport, said raising salaries could set the tone for the session. He said it's not yet clear whether the increases would be legal, and Republicans may seek an opinion from the current attorney general, Republican William Schneider.

"We don't want to go back to business as usual now that Democrats are back in the majority," he said. "The Democrats have the votes, but it's a matter of whether doing this is the right thing to do."

Lawmakers are paid about $23,000 over each two-year session.

LePage is the nation's lowest-paid governor, earning $70,000 per year.

In 2006, Democratic Gov. John Baldacci vowed to veto a proposal by the Legislature to increase the governor's salary to $102,000, about three times the state's family median income at the time.

Baldacci, who would not have benefited from the bill, argued that it would be inappropriate to raise the governor's salary in a poor economy.

Staff Writer Steve Mistler can be contacted at 791-6345 or at:


Twitter: stevemistler


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Today's poll: Pay for state officers

Should the Legislature increase the salaries for constitutional officers who have served in those positions before?



View Results


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