Gov.-elect Janet Mills on Friday announced that she has chosen Portland’s assistant city manager and the warden of the Maine State Prison to serve as commissioners of public safety and corrections, respectively, in her administration.
Michael Sauschuck, 48, of Windham is currently the assistant city manager in Maine’s largest city. He formerly served for more than two decades in the Portland Police Department, his final four years as chief.
Randall Liberty, 54, of Benton has been warden of the state prison in Warren since 2015 and is a former Kennebec County sheriff.
Both nominees will need to be confirmed by the Maine Senate. Sauschuck would oversee the state’s public safety agencies, including the Maine State Police. Liberty would oversee the state’s prisons and juvenile detention facilities.
In a Friday statement, Mills said, “the fundamental charge of any government is to protect the safety and wellbeing of its citizens” and she called Sauschuck and Liberty “leaders of the highest order who are well-positioned to fulfill that critical mission.”
Sauschuck, who grew up in Franklin County and completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Southern Maine, left the Portland Police Department to become assistant city manager in July. During his time as chief in Portland, he oversaw more than 220 employees and managed the department’s nearly $17 million budget.
Sauschuck said it’s his goal to lead a department that “not only protects the safety and welfare of the people of Maine, but that is also professional, accountable and transparent.”
During his time as warden, Liberty has worked to reduce recidivism rates, and to enhance educational and vocational training for inmates. Liberty said he plans to continue that work if confirmed as corrections commissioner, ensuring the department takes “thoughtful, innovative approaches to reduce recidivism and help those in prison take responsibility, turn their lives around, and become productive, contributing members of our society.”
Including Sauschuck and Liberty, Mills — who will be inaugurated Jan. 2 — has now announced nine of her nominees for Maine’s 14 commissioner positions and her nominee to lead Maine Workers’ Compensation Board, which is also a Cabinet position.