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Maine GOP Statement on Good Will-Hinckley Controversy

AUGUSTA – Maine Republican Party Chairman Rick Bennett today released the following statement regarding the dismissal of Speaker of the House Mark Eves as the President from the Goodwill Hinckley School:

“The Governor is right to draw attention to an unfortunate reality in Maine governance.  When they reach the end of their terms, too many powerful legislative leaders seem to end up in well-paid sinecures funded by the taxpayers. This is a problem that has existed prior to the question on Speaker Eves.

“A brief look at recent history in Augusta shows numerous Democrats landing well-paid positions with little qualification to do the job. Even our Constitutional Officer positions (Attorney General, Secretary of State, and State Treasurer) have become soft landing places for Democrat politicians.

“Systems of accountability are compromised seriously when friendships put niceties over results. There seems to be an expectation among Democrats that this is business as usual and it should not even be questioned. I disagree.  I believe such practices should always be questioned.

“As government gets bigger and more powerful, the revolving door becomes an ever-greater problem.  Republicans need to stand up and fight political patronage and insist Maine tax dollars be spent responsibly at every turn. Speaker Eves is no exception.”

MAINE GOP RAISES ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS AND CONCERNS

Concerns of Quid Pro Quo
Following are some additional items that have received little coverage by the news media thus far in this controversy:
Bill Brown is employed by Speaker Eves as his Special Assistant for Budget and Policy in the State House. http://legislature.maine.gov/house/staffspk.htm
At the same time he serves as Chairman of the Board of the Maine Academy of Natural Sciences at Good Will-Hinckley. http://www.means-gwh.org/AboutUs/MeANSBoardofDirectors.aspx

Meaning of the word “discretionary” lost on Democrats and press
The funding in question is spent at the discretion of the Governor. The Governor is well within his legal limits to withhold funding if he feels the money should not be spent. Speaker Eves’ track record in opposing charter schools and managing fiscal matters in legislative policy certainly raise serious concerns about how this funding will be spent.

Eves and Democrats hack away at discretionary charter school funding, yet Eves still wants his paycheck. (But non-citizen welfare in Portland will still get paid)

Mark Eves and Democrats successfully pushed to cut $5.5 million from the ‘Miscellaneous Costs’ portion of the state education budget. This is a pool of funds that is spent at the discretion of the LePage Administration. It is also where the $530,000 in funding for Good Will-Hinckley that is often discussed by the press is paid from.

In an apparent rush to satisfy public school interests, Speaker Eves and Democrats hacked away $5.5 million from this fund, and moved those funds into GPA.

This resulted in some districts being able to pull back some of their local education funds and fill the gap with additional state funds.

In Portland, the additional $1.8 million in state funds that Eves and Democrats got by raiding the charter school discretionary fund is now going to be spent funding general assistance welfare for non-citizens.

It is unclear if Speaker Eves is even aware that the $5.5 million cut he made to the ‘Miscellaneous Costs’ is where a significant portion of Good Will-Hinckley’s funding comes from.

How could the leaders at Good Will-Hinckley reconcile holding on to a school President who has opposed the very existence of their schools for years and just recently raided the fund that supports their school?

Eves & Democrats being allowed to misplace responsibility, GWH simply says they want to remain ‘apolitical’
Questions remain about the full reasoning behind Good Will-Hinckley’s ultimate decision, but, given Good Will-Hinckley’s statement expressing a desire to remain ‘apolitical’, the funding issue alone is not a simple open-and-shut explanation.
Other questions should be asked of the situation surrounding Eves hiring and dismissal:

  • Did Speaker Eves misrepresent the quality of his relationship with Governor LePage and/or Republicans in the Legislature?
  • Did Speaker Eves suggest or commit to protecting, or working to acquire, funding or resources for Good Will-Hinckley that were thrown into doubt with the revelation of the $5.5 million cut to the ‘Miscellaneous Costs’ budget, or with deeper exploration of his position opposing charter schools?
  • Did Speaker Eves’ plans to run for higher office in the First Congressional District, or for Governor, ultimately conflict with the desire of Good Will-Hinckley to remain ‘apolitical’?

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