Gov. Paul LePage has hit a new low in his abuse of our hardworking Maine residents.
He has threatened to withhold over a million dollars in funding from the Good Will-Hinckley school because its directors hired Speaker of the House Mark Eves as their president.
According to the Bangor Daily News, the result of this threat is that the Harold Alfond Foundation has threatened to withhold $2.75 million in funding if the loss of state funding occurs. (Good Will-Hinckley is the parent organization of the publicly funded Maine Academy of Natural Sciences, a charter school also known as MEANS.)
In response, Good Will-Hinckley has rescinded its offer to Eves to be the organization’s new president. This terrible decision is particularly shocking, given that only two weeks ago John Moore, chairman of the Good Will-Hinckley board, had this to say about speaker Eves:
“The Good Will-Hinckley Board of Directors and senior staff believe strongly that Mark Eves’ professional credentials and career in psychology and family therapy, as well as his statewide policy and leadership experience as speaker of the Maine House of Representatives, make him the best candidate to lead our school’s work creating opportunity for at-risk and non-traditional students from across Maine.”
The board members now have turned their back on Eves.
It is a shame the board of Goodwill-Hinckley did not publicly stand up to the governor in support of its choice. It also is a shame the board of the Alfond Foundation did not speak out as well or offer to make up the difference.
After meeting with a board member of the Good Will-Hinckley school, I am more sympathetic to board members’ impossible situation. It appears that they stood to lose state funding, which would have cost them the grant from the Alfond Foundation. To complicate matters more, the loss of this funding meant they would not have the money to make their mortgage payments on their building, resulting in the loss of the entire school. The governor put them in an intractable situation to which there appears to be no good solution.
Since when is it OK to interfere with a man’s ability to earn a living because you don’t agree with his politics? Eves was hired after an extensive search. Either the board of the school should resign because its members are not competent to hire a president, or they should stand by their choice.
Enough about the school. What about our abuser in chief? If he can get a legislator fired before he even starts his or her job outside the State House, how many of our residents will be willing to stand up publicly for what they believe in if they disagree with the governor? Does this mean that if you are not financially independent, you can no longer be a politician in Maine? One of the strengths of Maine’s politicians is that they have generally reflected the people they represent; they work for a living. Will this no longer be possible?
Our governor repeatedly has shown us he is not only a bully but really has no idea where to draw the line in politics. There are many politicians in Maine who I don’t agree with; however, I have never seen any of them stoop this low. Governor, you have gone too far. I hope the hardworking leaders in the Senate and House will publicly stand up for their colleague and come to his defense.
Adam D. Lee is chairman of Lee Auto Malls, a family owned business since 1936.