Maine governor accuses union of lyingTHE ASSOCIATED PRESS | May 14,2013AUGUSTA, Maine — Gov. Paul LePage accused the Maine State Employees Association on Monday of lying to try to scare people with talk of a possible government shutdown.
The union representing state workers warned in a May 6 letter that agencies were directed to prepare plans “for an inevitable shutdown.”
The blunt-speaking Republican governor told the union’s chief counsel, Tim Belcher, during a meeting at the Cross Office Building, “You are lying.”
Afterward, Belcher confirmed the governor’s account, describing LePage as “belligerent, accusatory and threatening.”
“I’m not going to get into the gutter with the guy and exchange insults,” Belcher said. “The important thing is that thousands of Mainers are worrying about a state shutdown. They’re not worried because we raised the issue. They’re worried about a governor who refuses to negotiate.”
LePage spokeswoman Adrienne Bennett, who witnessed the discussion, said the governor didn’t cross the line in his remarks, saying he wasn’t belligerent or threatening.
The MSEA attempted to invoke a statutory requirement that the administration meet with union leaders within 10 days to bargain the terms of a shutdown, which could occur if the Legislature and LePage fail to enact a two-year state budget by the start of the next fiscal year on July 1
The governor proposed a $6.3 billion budget in January. The budget remains stalled in the Democrat-controlled Legislature.
LePage insisted that the executive branch has not issued any secret warning to state agencies about a possible shutdown. Belcher insisted afterward that the union had received a “credible” report that state agencies were warned about a possible shutdown, though he accepted the governor’s statement that his administration didn’t issue any warnings.
LePage said the union should talk to lawmakers who’ve declined to bring his budget to the floor. “If the Legislature chooses not to pass my budget, then you folks need to sit down with them and get a plan together,” he said.MORE IN News
- Most Popular
- Most Emailed
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day 1739, 'Richard Palmer' identified in prison at York Castle as the notorious outlaw DICK TURPIN; IN 1836, Battle of the Alamo begins near San Antonio de Bexar, Texas; 1896, the Tootsie Roll invented by LEO HIRSCHFELD.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 1472, Orkney, Shetland islands put up as collateral by Norway to Scotland in lieu of dowry for MARGARET OF DENMARK on her marriage with JAMES III, king of Scotland; 1962, JOHN GLENN first American to orbit Earth.
- TOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: City mayoral candidates debate campaign issues; Hartford, Conn., woman still missing; Neal Goswami reports attempts to legislate suicide; local woman loses 100 pounds through TOPS program.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 1878, JOHN TUNSTALL murdered near Lincoln, New Mexico, by the outlaw JESSE EVANS; in 1930, ELM FARM OLLIE first cow to fly in aircraft, first to be milked airborne; 1955, nuke test WASP; '79, snow in Sahara.
- TOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: Rutland Herald News Editor Alan J. Keays and staff writer Gordon Dritschilo discuss stories planned for the February 18, 2015, edition of the newspaper: Winter budgets maxed, legal marijuana, Springfield bank job, USPS slowdown
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 1249 AD, ANDRE of LONGJUMEAU is dispatched by LOUIS IX of France to meet the KHAGAN, ruler of the Mongol Empire; in 1804, during 1st Barbary War, STEPHEN DECATUR scuttles the pirate-held USS Philadelphia in Tripoli.