DHHS Commissioner Responds to Contract Criticism

Oct 15, 2015

AUGUSTA, Maine — Earlier this week, several mental health advocacy groups and lawmakers expressed concern over the process being used by the Department of Health and Human Services to establish a new statewide telephone response system for those with a mental health crisis.

They argued the process lacks specificity and safeguards. Commissioner Mary Mayhew says that isn't so.

"Contracts in state government are governed by state law and we will absolutely be focused on making sure there are enforcement provisions in the contract," she says.

Mayhew says the criticism is unwarranted and the agency is addressing the concerns raised by advocates. She also reminds lawmakers it is the executive branch that negotiates and enforces contracts, not the legislative branch.

"It is the executive's branch responsibility to manage the operations of state government and to insure that there is compliance with those laws and that we are effectively meeting the needs of those who depend on these services," she says. "I take that responsibility seriously."