I’m tired of reading inaccurate letters falsely maligning the Maine State Housing Authority. It is difficult to tell if the writers are ignorant of the facts and are simply venting their hatred of government, or are part of the misinformation campaign being waged by some extremists.

A recent letter, for example, stated that “the operations and direction of MaineHousing are guided solely by the director and their handpicked administration.”

In fact, the Board of Commissioners — most of whom are LePage appointments — must approve the agency’s budget, its program rules, and bond sales. If that is not guiding the agency then I don’t know what is.

The letter also incorrectly states the director of MaineHousing cannot be fired. The director can be removed by the governor for cause (such as neglect of duty and misconduct), but not simply because of political affiliation. This protection was included in the legislation that established Maine Housing in 1969 to prevent the agency from being subjected to precisely the kind of vicious political pressure we now see.

I worked at MaineHousing under directors who were appointed by Republican, Independent, and Democratic governors. No matter; the agency always tried to do what was best for Maine, not what was politically expedient. I’d urge people to learn the facts before attacking the agency and its employees. Improving an agency is one thing; seeking to destroy it, which seems the goal of some zealots, is another.

The non-partisan Office of Program Evaluation & Government Accountability (OPEGA) is assessing MaineHousing operations. Augusta Sen. Roger Katz, a co-chair of the Government Oversight Committee, asked for the review, as did MaineHousing’s director. I believe Katz will oversee a fair and thoughtful process. Let’s see what they say before ruining an agency that benefits Maine.

Daniel Simpson


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