Gov. Paul LePage needs to take his leadership cues from Sen. Roger Katz, R-Augusta, and Turnpike Authority Interim Director Peter Mills.

Both have focused the powers of their offices to clean up financial improprieties in the Turnpike Authority without antagonizing taxpayers or wasting our money to orchestrate stunts like the governor’s removal of art and conference room plaques from the Labor Department building.

LePage has squandered scarce taxpayer dollars to pay salaries to himself, his staff and employees of the Labor Department to plan, inform, and deal with employees and the public about dismantling art and plaques that memorialize some of Maine’s labor history.

Why should Labor Department Commissioner Laura Boyett encourage public employees to enter a contest to rename conference rooms at taxpayer expense?

How much time have state employees had to spend on the e-mail she sent them about this?

How much did it cost to remove, crate and transport the mural, and how much will it cost find a new home for it, transport and reassemble it?

How much time, electricity, paper and telephone use have the governor, his staff and the Labor Department spent on this boondoggle already?

Dana Connors, president of the Maine State Chamber of Commerce, says he has received no complaints from Maine businesses about the mural, and so far the governor’s office has produced one anonymous fax as evidence of complaints it has received.

The Labor Department’s purpose is to administer labor laws and regulations. The historical sources of some of these laws pertaining to child labor, working conditions, Social Security, and union organizing are depicted in the mural and memorialized on the plaques. The governor should focus on administering the laws they commemorate.

Ellen Ryan


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