Wednesday, March 12, 2014
AUGUSTA — It didn't take long for former Attorney General William Schneider to find a new job in state government.
On Monday, Gov. Paul LePage named Schneider the deputy director of the Office of Policy and Management, a quasi-investigative agency that LePage created last year to replace the State Planning Office.
Schneider, a Republican, served two years as the state's top lawyer when Republicans held a legislative majority, which they lost to Democrats in November's elections. Schneider's tenure as attorney general ended Monday afternoon when he was replaced by Democrat Janet Mills. His new job was announced a few hours after Mills was sworn in by LePage.
Schneider will work for agency director Richard Rosen, a former Republican lawmaker from Bucksport. LePage appointed Rosen to the job in December, shortly after Rosen finished his fourth term in the state Senate.
"I am grateful that former Attorney General Schneider will continue his public service to the state of Maine," Rosen said in a prepared statement. "I am enthusiastically looking forward to this new opportunity to work with him to identify and implement efforts to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of state government."
The Office of Policy and Management is charged with reviewing and advising on state agency budgets, streamlining agency operations, and evaluating the effectiveness of economic policy. LePage modeled the agency after the Legislature's Office of Program Evaluation and Government Accountability. The Legislature's watchdog agency is backed by the Government Oversight Committee, which has subpoena powers.
Similarly, the policy and management agency has the power to subpoena financial records from state agencies, after receiving approval from a state Superior Court. The office was created with the mission of finding $1 million in annual savings in state government.
It receives about $400,000 a year in state funding.
"I am honored to have the opportunity to continue to serve my state in this important role," Schneider said in a written statement. "As someone who always keeps a copy of the U.S. Constitution in my pocket, I have a great appreciation and respect for the mission of this office and this administration. Throughout my work in Maine state government, I have continually fought to ensure government is fair, open and accountable while best serving its citizens, and I look forward to doing that in my new position."
Schneider, 53, is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, where he majored in engineering and computer science. He has a law degree from the University of Maine and started his law career as an intern prosecutor in the Cumberland County District Attorney's Office.
He is also a retired Army captain and Green Beret. He served in the Maine House of Representatives from 1998 to 2002, including a two-year stint as assistant House Republican leader.
In 2012, Schneider was one of six Republicans who ran for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Olympia Snowe.
He finished sixth in that contest despite winning some early campaign infrastructure support from Snowe.
So far, Schneider is the only one of three Republican officers elected by legislators in 2010 to be brought into the LePage administration. Secretary of State Charlie Summers was replaced Monday by Democrat Matt Dunlap, and state Treasurer Bruce Poliquin was replaced by Democrat Neria Douglass.
Poliquin and LePage had worked closely together in the past two years. Adrienne Bennett, LePage's spokeswoman, said Monday that she was not aware of any plans to bring Poliquin into the administration.