“I realized there was too much money being spent in the Senate president’s office, so I reduced spending on the staff budget by 20 percent right off the top.”

— Maine Senate President Kevin Raye, R-Perry, in a 2nd Congressional District campaign video

Raye, looking to remove U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud from office in November and framing himself as a fiscal hawk, is selling himself a tad short on this claim.

Numbers provided by Joseph Carleton, secretary of the Maine Senate, show Raye’s predecessor as Senate president, Vassalboro Democrat Libby Mitchell, had a staff budget of $376,875 in July 2010. Raye was sworn in on Dec. 1, 2010, and his annual staff budget as of Jan. 11, 2011, was $293,904. That’s a savings of more than 22 percent.

It was achieved by keeping five employees, instead of six under Mitchell, and by lowering average wages among staff by nearly $4,000 per person.

An email from Mary Small, Raye’s chief of staff in the Senate, said there will be additional savings this year due to a four-month leave of absence by Robert Caverly, a special assistant. Small wrote that aside from that, salaries have stayed the same. Caverly is now working as Raye’s congressional campaign manager, according to a Raye campaign release.

The office’s makeup will all but surely change more by next year, as Raye is termed out in the Senate and could be headed to Washington. Republicans currently have a 19-15 edge over Democrats in the Senate now, with one unenrolled member.

Verdict: We rate this statement true.

Michael Shepherd can be contacted at 621-5632 or at:

[email protected]

 

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