Kudos to Education Commissioner Stephen Bowen for recognizing how inappropriate it would be to hire Ms. Maine USA Ashley Marble as spokesperson for CTE programs. According to a newspaper story, several years ago Gov. Paul LePage wanted to hire Marble after having lunch with her.

The governor needs a reminder that there are guidelines for the hiring of state employees. The hiring process involves following specific application procedures that allow qualified candidates (whether beautiful or not) to be considered for the position, so that the most qualified candidate for the job can be selected. I doubt that shapeliness, hair color or lunch table manners are part of the selection criteria, and while I’m sure Marble has many other qualities, I doubt over a lunch that LePage could have developed enough of an understanding of these to make an informed decision about her suitability for an education department position.

It is common knowledge that at the time LePage tried to force Marble’s hiring there was a state hiring freeze, and job cuts left many positions in the education department unfilled. That LePage tried to force the education department to hire Marble is an insult both to former employees who lost their jobs and current employees who worked doubly hard to cover for positions unfilled due to the hiring freeze.

This letter is in no way intended to disrespect Marble; rather, I recognize that she was put into a terrible situation by the ignorant actions of LePage. LePage had no business trying to circumvent the normal state hiring processes. Not only did his actions do a disservice to Marble and education department employees, he also unfairly prevented many qualified candidates from applying for the position. Bowen, please accept my thanks and hold your head high.

Mark Nordberg


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