AUGUSTA — Maine State Housing Authority Director Dale McCormick has resigned after months of pressure from Republicans who criticized the agency’s spending.

McCormick, a former Democratic state senator and treasurer, submitted her resignation today during a board of directors meeting.

McCormick had fought back against the accusations, saying they were politically motivated and hurt the agency’s reputation. But she also appeared to have little choice about giving up the job because of a bill moving through the Republican-led Legislature.

The bill, LD 1778, which is expected to reach the Senate floor today, would give the housing authority’s board of directors the authority to fire the director.

Under current law, the director serves a four-year term, and the governor can remove the executive director only for “inefficiency, neglect of duty or misconduct in office.”

The new Republican members of the board of directors, including Chairman Peter Anastos and State Treasurer Bruce Poliquin, have made no secret of their wish to replace McCormick. The board cited research by the conservative advocacy group Maine Heritage Policy Center, which reviewed years of spending records and highlighted what it called examples of overspending and mismanagement.

Democrats in the Legislature initially resisted the proposal that would allow the board to fire McCormick for any reason, saying it opens the door to additional political influence over the agency.
However, minority Democrats on the Labor, Commerce, Research and Development Committee dropped their opposition earlier this month, indicating McCormick would likely not survive her full term.

McCormick, 65, has served as housing authority director since 2005. Her term would have ended in 2014. Details of her negotiated severance package were not immediately available.

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