AUGUSTA, Maine — The president of the union representing state employees is demanding Gov. Paul LePage’s administration reveal which political appointees and staff received bonus vacation time under a new policy, and how much it will cost Maine taxpayers.

Ginette Rivard, head of the Maine State Employees’ Association, filed a Freedom of Access Act request Wednesday after the publication of a Bangor Daily News investigation into the new policy.

The change, implemented unilaterally by LePage in February, made more than 150 political appointees and governor’s office staff eligible for special vacation consideration by giving them credit for relevant years of experience prior to joining state government. Over the past few months, 54 such employees have received an average of 62 hours — roughly eight days — of additional vacation time for each year they’ve served under LePage.

Those employees will continue to earn vacation time at a faster rate than other, similarly tenured, state employees.

The LePage administration has refused to release the names of the appointees who received extra vacation time, citing a pending review of state confidentiality rules. The Bangor Daily News has also filed a request for the information under the state’s Freedom of Access Act.

After the vacation policy change was revealed Wednesday, LePage’s gubernatorial election opponents Democratic U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud and independent Eliot Cutler also criticized the governor for instituting a policy that favored his closest political allies in state government.

The LePage administration has said the vacation policy shift was necessary for the recruitment and retention of high-level state executives, and to close the gap between his employees and their counterparts in other branches of government, who are paid more. Political appointees include commissioners, bureau directors and others responsible for leading and managing the state’s bureaucracy.

The union claims the new policy is a slap in the face to rank-and-file state employees. Rivard said that under LePage, state workers represented by the union went years without raises or merit and longevity pay, saw health premiums go up and faced increased workloads from vacant positions being cut rather than filled.

“As he lavished his political appointees with bonus vacation time, Gov. LePage spent the last four years ridiculing and demeaning the work of thousands of rank-and-file state workers who have dedicated their lives to serving Maine people,” Rivard said in a prepared statement.

Rivard pledged to publicly release whatever information MSEA receives from the administration.

Follow Mario Moretto on Twitter at @riocarmine.

Mario Moretto

Mario Moretto has been a Maine journalist, in print and online publications, since 2009. He joined the Bangor Daily News in 2012, first as a general assignment reporter in his native Hancock County and,...