The acting director of the Maine State Planning Office was fired Tuesday after his arrest the day before on a drunken-driving charge.

Richard M. Swanson Jr. was replaced by Peter Rogers of Yarmouth, who resigned last week from his job as Gov. Paul LePage’s communications director.

Swanson, 64, of 182 McGrath Pond Road, Oakland, was arrested on Lincoln Street in Waterville at 11:27 p.m. Monday. Officer Matt Libby stopped Swanson’s 2008 Saab because it was being driven erratically, according to Waterville police Chief Joseph Massey.

“I’ve already been fired,” Swanson said just after 11 a.m. Tuesday, as he was cleaning out his office. “I was asked to submit my resignation and I did.”

Swanson, who was also treasurer of LePage’s election campaign, had been serving as acting planning office director since November, when he replaced Darryl Brown, who had led the LePage administration’s effort to have planning office functions taken over by other parts of state government.

Rogers had been LePage’s communications director since July and resigned from the post last week, saying he wanted to “look for something new.” He is former deputy commissioner of the state Department of Defense, Veterans and Emergency Management and a former spokesman for the Maine Army National Guard.

LePage’s press secretary, Adrienne Bennett, said the governor’s office would not issue a statement regarding Swanson but confirmed he was asked to submit his resignation.

She also released Swanson’s letter of resignation.

“Dear Governor LePage,” it says. “It is with deep regret that I hereby resign my position as acting director of the Maine State Planning Office. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to serve in your administration. Sincerely, Richard M. Swanson Jr.”

During the traffic stop Monday night, the officer suspected Swanson was intoxicated and he was taken to the police station, Massey said. Massey declined to say what Swanson’s blood alcohol level was, except that it was over the legal limit of .08.

Swanson, however, said he “blew a .11,” and added, “There was a time when that wasn’t even over the limit.”

Swanson was released on $700 unsecured bail.

Police did not know where Swanson was before he was stopped or where he was headed.

“He just said that he had been out earlier in the city, and he gave very few details about where he was going and what he was doing prior to the stop,” Massey said.

Libby did not know about Swanson’s state government job during the traffic stop, Massey said, but found out later when he asked Swanson at the police station where he was employed. Swanson was cooperative during his arrest, Massey said.

Swanson is scheduled to appear in Waterville District Court at 1 p.m. May 18.

Swanson said that LePage was not in town Tuesday and Mike Hersey, director of boards and commissions, asked him to resign.

“I don’t have any idea what I’m going to do now,” Swanson said.

 

State House Staff Writer John Richardson contributed to this report.

 

Morning Sentinel Staff Writer Amy Calder can be contacted at 861-9247 or at: [email protected]

 


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