The acting director of the Maine State Planning Office, Richard J. Swanson Jr., was fired Tuesday after his arrest for driving while intoxicated and was immediately replaced with Peter Rogers, recently Gov. Paul LePage’s communications director.

Swanson, 64, of 182 McGrath Pond Road, Oakland, was arrested on Lincoln Street in Waterville at 11:27 p.m. Monday. Officer Matt Libby stopped Swanson’s 2008 Saab because it was being operated erratically, according to Waterville police Chief Joseph Massey.

“I’ve already been fired,” Swanson said, just after 11 a.m. Tuesday, as he was cleaning out his office. “I was asked to submit my resignation and I did.”

Rogers had been communications director since last year and resigned from the post last week, saying he wanted to “look for something new.” He is former deputy commissioner of the state Department of Defense, Veterans and Emergency Management and a former spokesman for the Maine Army National Guard.

Swanson, who was also treasurer of LePage’s election campaign, was appointed acting director of the planning office in November. He replaced Darryl Brown.

LePage’s press secretary, Adrienne Bennett, said the governor’s office did not have a statement to issue regarding Swanson, but confirmed he was asked to submit his resignation.

She also released Swanson’s letter of resignation, which is written on state of Maine stationery.

“Dear Governor LePage,” it says. “It is with deep regret that I hereby resign my position as acting director of the Maine State Planning Office. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to serve in your administration. Sincerely, Richard M. Swanson, Jr.”

During the traffic stop Monday night, the officer determined Swanson was intoxicated and he was taken to the police station, Massey said.

Massey declined to say what Swanson’s blood alcohol level was, except that it was over the legal limit of .08.

Swanson, however, said he “blew a .11,” and added, “There was a time when that wasn’t even over the limit.”

Swanson was released on $700 unsecured bail.

Police had no information on where Swanson was before he was stopped or where he was going.

“He just said that he had been out earlier in the city and he gave very few details about where he was going and what he was doing prior to the stop,” Massey said.

He said that Libby did not know who Swanson was during the stop, but learned about his state government position at the police department when he asked Swanson where he was employed. Massey said Swanson was cooperative during the arrest.

Swanson is scheduled to appear in Waterville District Court at 1 p.m. May 18.

Swanson said that LePage was not in town Tuesday and Mike Hersey, the director of boards and commissions, asked him to resign.

“I don’t have any idea what I’m going to do now,” Swanson said.

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]

State House writer John Richardson contributed to this report.


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