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Politics

Maine Gov. Testifies Against Bill Restricting His Power Over AG Salaries

AUGUSTA, Maine - Maine Gov. Paul LePage says he intentionally slowed state hiring to save money, calling himself "an equal opportunity conservative.''
 
The Portland Press Herald reports that LePage defended his decision during a hearing before the Legislature. The Legislature is reviewing a bill that strips the governor's power in approving staff pay raises for the Attorney General's office.
 
LePage says he was not targeting any agency in the hiring slowdowns. Instead, he says he wanted to build up a fund necessary for negotiating union contracts with state employees.
 
Maine Attorney General Janet Mills says the delays in state hiring led to accounting errors and unfilled state positions.
 
LePage says the bill is retaliation for his lawsuit against Mills. However, the senator sponsoring the bill says it was introduced months before the lawsuit.