Secretary of State Charlie Summers is on unpaid leave from his job while finishing his campaign for U.S. Senate, according to his spokeswoman.
Summers had been using vacation time to campaign until that ran out and he began an unpaid leave Oct. 22, said Megan Sanborn, spokeswoman for the Secretary of State’s Office. “He is still working outside the office while he is on unpaid leave and dealing with any issues that need his assistance,” Sanborn wrote in an email this week.
Summers, whose annual salary is $72,727, had started the year with 192 hours of vacation time and 24 hours of personal time, the equivalent of 27 days off. Sanborn said staff kept track of Summers’ time so that he did not collect his salary while campaigning. He often spent part of a day in the office working and other parts at campaign events, she said.
Chief Deputy Secretary of State Barbara Redmond continues to run the day-to-day operations of the department, Sanborn said.
Deputy Secretary of State Julie Flynn is overseeing the conduct of the Nov. 6 elections. Summers had said he was delegating much of the election work to Flynn even before he took a leave.
Some Democratic lawmakers objected to Summers running for higher office while serving as the constitutional officer who oversees Maine elections. Not only is Summers on ballots statewide, his wife, Ruth Summers, also is running for office and will be on the Nov. 6 ballots in Scarborough and Gorham as a state Senate candidate.
Summers is not the first sitting secretary of state to run for higher office, however. Former Democratic Secretary of State Bill Diamond of Windham ran for Congress while occupying the office and said it was not an inherent conflict.