Cronies Living Well Long After Baldacci is Gone - McGowan Appointed to PUC Position

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Olde Timer
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Joined: 01/10/2011 - 11:50am
Cronies Living Well Long After Baldacci is Gone - McGowan Appointed to PUC Position

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.

Naran
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Joined: 10/06/2004 - 12:01am
How very interesting, Olde

How very interesting, Olde Timer. Thank you!

Worth repeating:

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.

How very special. I wonder if the PUC would like to comment on the allegation.

Naran
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Joined: 10/06/2004 - 12:01am
BTW - I am told by an

BTW - I am told by an informed source that the Pat McGowan appointment is a scoop for AMG.
:)

BlueJay
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Joined: 04/18/2005 - 12:01am
Earlier this year the PUC

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.

How good of the PUC to make this move with the slump in the real estate market. Isn't that fortunate for the attorney who's part owner of the Worster House. My, my. It just keeps going, and going, and .....

Olde Timer
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Joined: 01/10/2011 - 11:50am
Now this is quality

Now this is quality communication: The main web page of Dan Cashman's PR firm (www.cashcomm.net) leads with a quote from Governor Baldacci.

"Dan Cashman worked as my assistant press secretary for more than three years and proved himself to a productive, knowledgeable communicator." (emphasis added) Just who was this knowledgeable communicator he proved himself to?

I wonder how much Danny charges his clients to not proofread their web content. Let's see how long it is before he reads this post and corrects the error.

Bullseye
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Joined: 03/20/2000 - 1:01am
Joe Brennen did the same

Joe Brennen did the same thing when he left office.
David Flannigan and other Brennen insiders went
to the PUC.

Helmster
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Joined: 03/15/2007 - 1:04pm
Get your facts strait. Dave

Get your facts strait. Dave Flanagan never went to the PUC after serving as Brennan's counsel - he went to Pierce Atwood and then to CMP.
As for Dems clinging fiercely to the tit of state government it is in their DNA to avoid the private sector with every fiber of their body and stay on the public dole - esp a six figure job like the PUC with no real heavy lifting.

Olde Timer
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Joined: 01/10/2011 - 11:50am
Shortly after Danny Cashman

Shortly after Danny Cashman announced he was leaving the Baldacci administration and starting his own PR firm, he issued a press release with the following tidbit:

"His clients include the State Planning Office and Maine Department of Conservation, for which he's publicizing offshore wind demonstration sites." Source

Nothing like being given a boost for your new company at the taxpayer's expense! I wonder who ordered these two state agencies to engage a brand new, untested, one-person firm for their PR work when there are many other experienced and proven Maine firms with no direct line to Baldacci cronies? And what does this Cashman family have on Baldacci that warrants such generous and continuing support from the public treasury?

Sounds like a great idea for a Bill Nemitz column. Oh wait, they’re Democrats, so his outrage doesn’t apply.

Naran
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Joined: 10/06/2004 - 12:01am
Speaking of the PUC and Jack

Speaking of the PUC and Jack Cashman, this article is from October, but worth the read.

************

$36,000 for state emails? The back story
By Naomi Schalit | Executive director and senior reporter
October 14, 2010 © Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting

On September 9th, Jack Cashman, chairman of the Maine Public Utilities Commission, called me to apologize for requiring that the Center pay $36,000 to see emails of the commission’s former chairman.

It was a surprising and gratifying end to a months-long conflict with the state over the emails, which under Maine law are public documents.

[url=http://pinetreewatchdog.org/2010/10/14/36000-for-state-emails-the-back-s...

FXSTC
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Joined: 11/13/2003 - 1:01am
Can LePage defund the PUC

Can LePage defund the PUC salary pool? Pay Cashman and his cronies what they are worth, MINIMUM WAGE!

The PUC is even more of a disaster now, they recently approved $1,500,000,000 for the Maine Power Reliability Project despite the Efficiency Maine Trust plan for a 30% reduction in energy use in Maine. We are upgrading and adding to our transmission lines while cutting our consumption? They are insane, but what do you expect from our ineffective ex-DECD commisioner?

BlueJay
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Joined: 04/18/2005 - 12:01am
But, but, but... isn't this

But, but, but... isn't this upgrade to the transmission lines to support all the energy we're going to get from the new wind turbines? Our new, "green" energy source? Aren't they necessary because of that?

Robert Reed
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Joined: 11/08/2007 - 1:53pm
The reliability tagline is a

The reliability tagline is a bunch of bunk, this is nothing more than building a network to get cheap power from the maritimes to Mass and Connecticut,w e will neither need to draw from or put into that energy line, we'll just be a bystander with some communities being excited about more tax revenue coming at them for the upgrades and/or new substations.

Olde Timer
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Joined: 01/10/2011 - 11:50am
In his "Media Mutt" column

In his "Media Mutt" column for Down East, Al Diamon wrote (Source):

"I confirmed with PUC chairman Jack Cashman that McGowan had been chosen to fill the opening 'a month or six weeks ago.' Cashman said McGowan was one of a dozen applicants seeking to become the ombudsman, a position which is mandated by CMP’s agreement with the PUC. He said no press release on the hiring was sent out because, “It has not been the practice at the PUC to make public announcements of things like that.”

But Al, the question isn't whether the PUC put out a press release after the hiring. The issue is whether they made an announcement that the position was open before the hiring. There is no record of such an announcement on the Web, in the state career postings, or anywhere else. If they wanted to find the most qualified person in whom to trust this important work, shouldn't they have broadcast the opening far and wide?

On the other hand, if Cashman intended all along to reward a fellow cronie who had hired his son to be his campaign spokesman, he would have kept the job quiet so as not to have to deal with any pesky interlopers.

Cashman told you that "about a dozen" people applied for this job. Is that supposed to pass the straight face test?

In this economy, with these unemployment numbers, only 12 people applied for a well-paid state job with great benefits? If anyone believes that, then I have some windmills in the Maine highlands I'd like to sell them!

FLAMMENWERFER
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Joined: 03/27/2005 - 1:01am
Thanks Olde Timer.

Thanks Olde Timer. Interesting stuff, although hardly surprising. So far none of those persons who got so excited about Lauren LePage have chosen to chime in. If they don't show up soon I shall begin to suspect the sincerity of their devotion to clean and crony-free government.

Melvin Udall
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Joined: 05/01/2002 - 12:01am
Follow me, Flamm. I'm

Follow me, Flamm. I'm already aboard that train.

BlueJay
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Joined: 04/18/2005 - 12:01am
..."The issue is whether they

..."The issue is whether they made an announcement that the position was open before the hiring. There is no record of such an announcement on the Web, in the state career postings, or anywhere else."

Juicy fodder for a good investigative story.

Naran
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Joined: 10/06/2004 - 12:01am
Amateur Scoops Maine Pros

Amateur Scoops Maine Pros With McGowan News
Submitted by Al Diamon on Mon, 01/24/2011

...snip

On Jan. 21, the As Maine Goes Web site carried a posting by someone using the pseudonym “Olde Timer,” revealing that McGowan had been hired by the Maine Public Utilities Commission ...

I confirmed with PUC chairman Jack Cashman that McGowan had been chosen to fill the opening “a month or six weeks ago.” ....He said no press release on the hiring was sent out because, “It has not been the practice at the PUC to make public announcements of things like that.”

[url=http://www.downeast.com/media-mutt/2011/january/amateur-maine-journalism... when they're likely to cause controversy...[/url]

Earl Nickerson . Jr
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Joined: 11/24/2002 - 1:01am
I agree Flam and Mel...Que

I agree Flam and Mel...Que the crickets sound effect...

Empirefalls
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Joined: 09/22/2011 - 9:52am
From 01/21/2011 Olde Timer:

From 01/21/2011 Olde Timer: "Long after Baldacci is Gone, his Cronies Will Still be Attached to the Government Teat..

Any updates?

Bruce Libby
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Joined: 01/17/2006 - 7:08pm
No one to my knowledge in the

No one to my knowledge in the majority of our state government has proposed legislation to outlaw such practices have they?

Naran
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Joined: 10/06/2004 - 12:01am
They have those software

They have those software programs called "Tax Zappers." Maybe we could implement a bill designed to prevent the occurrence of crony make-work jobs for political supporters.

We could call it a "Hacks Zapper."


The Hacks Zapper - Standard Operating Equipment for Fiscal Conservatives

Bruce Libby
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Joined: 01/17/2006 - 7:08pm
Very nice!

Very nice!

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