People who live in Augusta, Chelsea, China, Manchester, Sidney, Vassalboro or Windsor no longer have representation on the Kennebec County Commission. Why is this? Gov. Paul LePage has not acted on the nominations provided to him under state law.

Our commissioner, Beverly Daggett, passed away on Sept. 6. On Oct. 22, the Kennebec County Democratic Committee delivered the names of two well-qualified nominees — Patsy Crockett and Patrick Paradis — from which LePage could choose. Both formerly represented Augusta in the Legislature; Paradis is currently on Augusta City Council.

Scott Van Orman, of the governor’s staff, informed the Kennebec Democrats that LePage insisted on having four names to pick from. That demand presents a couple of problems. First, only three people applied for the position. Second (and a recurring) problem, LePage doesn’t get to tell people who don’t work for him how to do their jobs.

The law governing vacancies says: “The governor shall choose from any recommendations submitted to the governor by the county committee of the political party from which the appointment is made.” It doesn’t say the governor can demand more than one name, much less four.

If the governor doesn’t make this appointment, the position will remain vacant until filled in the November 2016 election. At that point, the people of the above-named towns will have been without representation for more than a year.

And, it gets better. At full strength, Kennebec County has only three county commissioners, and, in order to meet, at least two of them must be present. Also, certain legal documents require the signatures of at least two commissioners.

LePage should do his job, appoint the county commissioner, give the people the representation they deserve — and quit playing petty games.

Alan Tibbetts


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