Gov. Paul LePage has shown he has no problem subverting the will of the voters and obstructing the work of the people to prove a point or score a political victory. Look no further than his machinations with the Land for Maine’s Future program or the Board of Corrections.

Now he is at it again, albeit on a more local level, by refusing to appoint someone to the open position on the Kennebec County Commission, impairing the commission’s work and leaving some residents without a county representative.

One slot on the three-person panel has been vacant since the death of Beverly Daggett in September.

Because Daggett was a Democrat, state law dictates that the Kennebec County Democratic Committee select nominees to fill her spot until the next election.

Those nominees go to the governor, who then is supposed to appoint one of the selections as interim commissioner until the next election, which in this case is in November 2016.

The county committee, on Oct. 22, sent along the names of two worthy candidates, Patrick Paradis, an Augusta city councilor, and Patsy Crockett, a former state representative, but the governor has not acted on them.

The reason? His press secretary said he wants to be able to pick among three nominees, not two, though nothing in the state law says how many nominees the committee must choose.

It is hard to see this as anything but petty, obstructive and antagonistic politics by LePage, who has made that his way of doing business with opponents and rivals.

This isn’t the first time he held back on filling Kennebec County positions when a Democrat was involved. Among others, he refused to appoint Maeghan Maloney as the interim district attorney after Evert Fowle resigned to become a judge in 2012. Maloney won the position outright in the next election.

He also has not acted on the county committee’s nominee for interim sheriff, Ryan Reardon. In that case, there is little effect, because the law gives Reardon, already acting sheriff, full powers in the meantime.

However, in the county commission’s case, it is getting in the way of county’s operations, as the commission tries to complete its business with only two members. That’s the minimum for a quorum, and it leaves no one to break a tie.

That work will only get more difficult as the commission takes on more complex issues, such as the county budget and overcrowding at the jail.

LePage should fill the position immediately, choosing from one of the two nominees sent by the county Democrats.

Judging from his past actions, however, the governor is unlikely to do so, and the people of Kennebec County will suffer as a result.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: