Augusta, Maine - Sen. Dawn Hill, D- Cape Neddick, is raising concerns that Gov. Paul LePage is trying to improperly influence the Public Utilities Commission. She has filed freedom of information act requests for correspondence between the Governor and his staff and between them and the Commissioners. LePage is furious and says he has not tried to influence commissioners.
“I find it really insulting that Dawn Hill would have that kind of er.. things to say about the PUC,” he said. “ This is disgusting.”
The two current commissioners, Chairman Mark Vannoy and Commissioner Carlisle McLean, are both LePage appointees. McLean served as his chief legal counsel before being confirmed earlier this year to the Commission.
“ She is insinuating that I am influencing the PUC, “ LePage said. “ Well, let me tell you something, I don’t micro-manage people I appoint. I don’t go in the courtroom and tell judges what to do.”
Hill said she is not the only lawmaker concerned that the two LePage appointed commissioners have not been as independent of the Governor as they would like to see. As for his current nominee, Bruce Williamson, she says the nomination is tabled; no vote has yet been taken on the nomination.
“Yes, he has a good resume, “Hill said. “But we don’t know the person and how he would actually apply his resume. And so I think the Governor is misinterpreting what’s happened. I don’t know ultimately what our decision will be.”
Hill said she has “no evil intent” in voting to table Williamson’s nomination. She said lawmakers are exercising their responsibility to carefully consider the nominee and not immediately vote on conformation.
“This is not the reappointment of someone that we know about, “ she said.
Hill is the Senate assistant Minority Leader and also serves on the Energy, Utilities and Technology committee that is considering Williamson’s nomination. The Committee has until June 8 to vote, The Senate then has to vote on the committee’s recommendation. It takes a two-thirds vote of the Senate to override the majority recommendation of the committee.