AUGUSTA — Still seething over Democratic lawmakers’ decision to delay his appointment to the Maine Public Utilities Commission by one week, Gov. Paul LePage on Friday withdrew 21 nominations to more than a dozen state boards and advisory councils.

The governor sent letters to each of his nominees. In one dated June 3 to a candidate for the Marine Resources Advisory Council, LePage wrote “that it’s with deep regret that you must be withdrawn from consideration.” The governor doesn’t explain the reason for his decision in the letters.

However, Adrienne Bennett, the governor’s spokeswoman, said the decision is directly related to “the debacle created by Democratic lawmakers” over the appointment of LePage nominee Bruce Williamson to the Public Utilities Commission.

Last week Democrats on the Legislature’s Energy, Utilities and Technology Committee, the panel that considers PUC appointments, voted to delay their recommendation of Williamson. The decision drew the ire of LePage, who held a news conference at the Blaine House a week ago Friday, during which he accused Democratic lawmakers of “playing games” and called them “repugnant,” “disgraceful” and “children.”

On Thursday, the panel finally voted 11-2 to recommend Williamson’s appointment. Two Democrats opposed his nomination. Their reservations centered on what Rep. Mark Dion, D-Portland, described as “a crisis of confidence” with the three-member PUC, although no lawmaker questioned Williamson’s credentials.

Williamson’s confirmation will next be taken up by the Senate, where Republicans hold the majority. The commission oversees and regulates the energy industry in Maine and authorizes energy and utility projects.


“The governor is disappointed that the Democrats chose to play political games with Dr. Williamson,” Bennett said.

Bennett added that the decision to withdraw the nominations to other boards and commissions was temporary and would clear the way for lawmakers to finish the state’s next two-year budget.

Sen. Dawn Hill, D-Cape Neddick, the assistant Democratic leader, voted against Williamson on Thursday. Hill said Friday it was the job of lawmakers to evaluate gubernatorial appointments and that Williamson was treated with respect during the confirmation hearing.

“We should ask questions and shame on us if we don’t,” Hill said, adding that the committee had 10 days to vote on the Williamson confirmation.

She also noted that LePage has refused to appoint members to the State Board of Corrections, a decision that has effectively rendered the board unable to govern. Hill suggested that the governor’s refusal was politically motivated.

Bennett said Friday the withdrawal of nominations was not a reflection on the candidates.


It’s unclear if the decision to hold appointments will affect the ability of the voting boards to conduct business.

The governor has the authority to appoint up to 2,000 positions to various state agencies, boards and commissions. More than 90 of the appointments require confirmation by the Legislature.

According to the administration, the nominations affected by the governor’s decision Friday include:

Two appointments to the Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Advisory Council.

 Three appointments to the Marine Resources Advisory Council.

 Two appointments to the Workers’ Compensation Board.


 Two appointments to the University of Maine System board of trustees.

 One appointment to the Maine Community College System board of trustees.

 One appointment to the Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority.

 One appointment to the Indigent Legal Services Board.

Steve Mistler can be contacted at 620-7016 or at:

Twitter: stevemistler

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