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For Immediate Release: Tuesday, Nov. 12Contact: Adrienne Bennett, Press Secretary, 207-287-2531
AUGUSTA – Governor Paul R. LePage sent a letter today in response to Democratic Committee Chairs, who complained about the Governor’s request for transparency in communications between the Executive and Legislative Branches. The letter repeats the communications policy – a policy set months ago by the Governor – between both branches continues to be effective and will remain in place.
In the letter, Governor LePage wrote, “As I said in my August 14 letter to your presiding officers, throughout my tenure as Governor, both during and between legislative sessions, members of my administration have worked very hard to assure that committees get the information they need to carry out their legislative responsibilities.”
“The administration has spent countless hours preparing and presenting testimony, reports and other materials to assist you as you deliberate,” the Governor added. “When we provide the information you need in written form, we also achieve our shared goal of transparency and public access to information. Every question submitted in writing by your committees has been answered, and every request for information has been obliged.”
Governor LePage continues to highlight the need for government transparency. Creating an official record of correspondence between the Executive and Legislative Branches will increase accessibility to public information. However, the Governor acknowledges that transparency may not be the issue at all.
“Perhaps your frustration stems from your inability to berate members of my administration in person.
“If you really want to ‘work together,’ you would be more respectful of me and members of my administration. Legislative committees have treated commissioners and their staff—and the Office of the Governor—disrespectfully. Administration staff members have been chastised, scolded and badgered by you and your committee members,” the Governor explained.
When a statutory obligation requires a report or analysis, Governor LePage stated the requirement will be completed, adding that the Administration will conduct the work of the Executive Branch in a respectful and businesslike manner.
Background: Governor LePage and his staff have communicated multiple times with the Legislative Branch with regard to communications, including letters on July 9 and August 14, 2013. Furthermore, verbal communication between the Governor’s Executive staff and Legislative staff has occurred with information provided accordingly per requests.
As recent as last week, Department of Health and Human Services commissioner Mary Mayhew and her staff answered an extensive line of questioning from the Health and Human Services Committee, which lasted hours. The Commissioner and staff have also recently answered questions from Appropriation Committee members and are scheduled to be before the Committee again tomorrow, Wednesday, November 13.
Additionally, Department of Economic and Community Development commissioner George Gervais has recently submitted detailed information to the Tax Expenditure Review Task Force.
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