Tuesday, June 18, 2013
By Steve Mistler email@example.com
A prominent real estate developer recently told Gov. Paul LePage that his handling of a nomination to the state finance authority reminded him of "the Baldacci days."
Cape Elizabeth resident Richard McGoldrick used that characterization in Aug. 23 email to LePage and administration officials. McGoldrick also requested that the administration withdraw his nomination to the agency charged with redeveloping the former Brunswick Naval Air Station.
McGoldrick's missive was triggered by LePage's failure to reappoint Susan Snowden to the quasi-public finance agency that provides access to low-interest financing to development projects.
LePage, in an Aug. 29 email to staff, acknowledged the error, writing that he previously promised to re-appoint Snowden to the Finance Authority of Maine.
"My error, I knew that big eraser would come in handy," LePage wrote, referencing the oversized eraser he keeps on his desk for "big mistakes." "Yes, we need to re-appoint (Snowden)."
The correspondence, obtained through a Freedom of Access Act request by The Portland Press Herald, explains why two of the governor's more than 70 nominations withdrew before last week's confirmation hearings at the State House. The emails also shed light on recent protests from a prominent Brunswick official that appointments to the base redevelopment agency, and perhaps others, are based more on politics and favors than expertise.
That complaint, expressed last week by Brunswick Town Council Chairwoman Joanne King, isn't confined to the LePage administration. However, McGoldrick in his Aug. 23 email to LePage and administration officials, wrote that the governor mishandled the Snowden appointment by not recognizing her expertise or allegiance to conservative ideals.
"Susan has impeccable R (Republican) credentials," wrote McGoldrick, "has served diligently on the board (as evidenced by her election to the chairmanship). While I believe you have every right to appoint who you want to these positions, you do have a responsibility to use discretion, to appoint the best possible people able and willing to serve ... and to treat these people with the respect they deserve."
McGoldrick later added that he no longer wanted to serve on the redevelopment authority.
"I do not want to be part of an administration that treats dedicated people in the manner in which you handled Ms. Snowden," McGoldrick concluded.
McGoldrick said Monday that he is no longer upset with the governor. After all, he said, the governor atoned for the mistake when he pulled back Snowden's replacement, Chris Logan, from the FAME board. Snowden will remain on the board. Administration officials said she'll be reappointed next year during the next round of nominations.
"I want to make it absolutely clear that I'm very happy with Gov. LePage, the work that he's doing and that he stood up and acknowledged that there was a mistake," McGoldrick said in an interview. "It was never his fault."
Administration officials acknowledge that senior staff erred with the Snowden appointment. However, it's not entirely clear why her spot on the FAME board was important to McGoldrick, the chief operating officer of Commercial Properties Inc., a Portland-based firm. McGoldrick said he supported Snowden because she had helped de-politicize decisions made by FAME.
The two also served on the FAME board after being appointed by former Gov. Angus King. McGoldrick, in his email to LePage, said Snowden "was carrying on the work that several of us began during the King Administration to de-politicize the FAME operations."
McGoldrick is also a board member of Bangor Savings Bank and Bangor Savings Foundation. Snowden is a senior vice president at the bank.
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