Since critics can't seem to move on from the "Lauren LePage gets a job" story (Nemitz mentioned it again this week!) Here's a thought to ponder...
Long after Baldacci is Gone, his Cronies Will Still be Attached to the Government Teat
If you thought the November elections finally brought an end to the Baldacci “hack-a-rama” of placing cronies on the state payroll, consider the following:
In July 2008, Baldacci appointed Jack Cashman, the underachieving Old Town developer and Baldacci pal who held more than one high-paying job in the administration (and another for his son) to the Maine Public Utilities Commission. AMG thread.
Despite a complete lack of experience with utilities in Maine, Cashman rose, in a little more than a year, to the Chairmanship of the PUC. In 2009, he received $110,449 in salary and $49,307 in benefits.
Baldacci also hired Cashman’s son, Dan, to work on his staff as a “Governor's Special Assistant” aka assistant press secretary. The junior Cashman resigned in September 2009 to start “Cashman Communications” (http://www.cashcomm.net). Despite the outrageously obvious conflict of interest, Danny has done PR work for First Wind.
News followers will recall that in April of this year Kurt Adams, Jack Cashman’s predecessor as PUC chair, came under scrutiny for owning shares in First Wind. Now the PUC chairman’s son is First Wind’s PR flak -- while First Wind has significant regulatory business with the PUC.
Now, Cashman, Sr. has hired another Baldacci pal, former Conservation Commissioner Pat McGowan, to serve as an “ombudsman” for the PUC as part CMP’s $1.2 billion grid upgrade project. Thanks to this early Christmas gift, McGowan will enjoy another 3-5 years on the public dole.
McGowan’s new role (mandated by PUC as part of the project) will involve working on issues such as landowner relations with the CMP work, putting his familiar temper tantrums, fist banging, and petty bullying to good use once again. Similar roles within the PUC and Public Advocate’s office generally pay around $90-100,000 annually.
McGowan quit his $100,000+ commissioner’s job a year ago to run for governor. He finished last in the Democratic primary. By the way, Dan Cashman served as McGowan’s spokesperson during the campaign.
In case you’re looking, no posting or job announcement for the McGowan position was ever put out by the PUC, so it is unlikely that any qualified candidates were considered.
All of this begs the question: Will there ever come a time when life-long Democrat political cronies like these will be cut off from the public trough in Maine for good?
McGowan will no doubt occupy a cushy office in the most expensive commercial real estate space in Hallowell. Earlier this year the PUC moved from its state-owned office space near the Capitol to the old Worster House in downtown Hallowell. This building was in the process of being converted to high end $300,000+ condos when the PUC offered to lease the entire building. Meanwhile other state-owned office space around Augusta goes unoccupied. And you might guess which attorney and McGowan backer owns a stake in the Worster House.