As Gov.-elect Janet Mills fills her cabinet, I am hopeful she will choose executive agency commissioners with the following suggestions in mind.

1. Commissioner appointees should have real-world experience related to the department they will lead. That means an education commissioner would have experience as a teacher, school administrator, etc. It is very helpful for regulators to have been on the receiving end of the regulations they promulgate.

2. Commissioner appointees should have managerial experience in a large organization. State or federal government experience would be ideal, but running some other large organization would suffice. Running a large government bureaucracy takes special knowledge, skills and experience.

3. Commissioner appointees would have advanced college degrees in their respective field. Depending on the particular area, a bachelor’s degree might suffice, whereas in other areas a doctorate might be important.

4. Commissioner appointees would have a practical understanding of how government works. They would know the regulatory process and the way the branches of government function individually as well as interact with each other for successful outcomes. They would have political acumen.

5. Commissioner appointees would be listeners. They would value input from the Maine people and employees, and take steps to gather that input and act on it in every important decision.

6. Commissioner appointees would be people of upstanding character. They would put the needs of Maine people ahead of party and self, and would put upholding the Maine Constitution ahead of politics. While perfection is impossible, they would have track records of honesty, integrity, decency and lawfulness.

I know this may sound unrealistic, but these are critically important government officials who affect our lives in many areas on a daily basis. Why not set the bar high?

Rick Dale


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