Court’s liaison not new to State House

By Judy Harrison, BDN Staff
Posted Oct. 30, 2008, at 12:17 a.m.

BANGOR, Maine — Counting the new job she started last week in the Administrative Office of the Courts, Mary Ann Lynch has worked in — or in association with — every branch of state government.

Lynch, 53, of Cape Elizabeth is the Maine judiciary’s new public information officer. She is the liaison to the news media and the State House.

She replaces Edward Kelleher, a former Bangor legislator, who for many years served as the court’s liaison to the State House and the governor’s office. He retired in January, according to Court Administrator James “Ted” Glessner.

Glessner has served as the court system’s contact person for the media, but it was a duty added on to his many other duties. Kelleher’s former position was redefined to include the media.

“I will be providing information to the Legislature, the governor, the press and internally in the court system,” Lynch said Wednesday at Bangor High School, where the Maine Supreme Judicial Court convened. “I’m hoping to deliver information in a better way.”

Lynch’s tour in government began in 1979 just after she graduated from the University of Southern Maine in Portland. She worked as an assistant to Gov. Joseph Brennan. She helped coordinate gubernatorial appointments.

In 1984, Lynch graduated from the University of Maine School of Law in Portland and went to work for one of the city’s largest law firms. Her duties there included lobbying legislators and representing clients before the Maine Public Utilities Commission.

Lynch worked for Maine Yankee Atomic Power Co. in Wiscasset from 1990 to 2000, including during the plant’s decommissioning. As vice president for law and government affairs, she was responsible for legal, audit, public and government affairs, internal and external communication functions, human resources and the Maine Yankee Information Center.

“Other states have people who do outreach to the public and the media,” Maine Supreme Court Justice Andrew M. Mead said Wednesday of Lynch’s duties. “She’ll be our face to the public, the Legislature and the media. She’ll also be our ears and mouth.” Mead has served on a standing committee on the media and the courts. One of the recommendations that came out of a series of meetings among representatives of the state’s daily newspapers, broadcasters, judges and lawyers was the need for a liaison between the courts and the media.

Although there is a hiring freeze in the court system, Glessner said a rare exception was made due to the judiciary branch’s need to have a presence in the State House. The cost of the position, including salary and benefits, is about $90,000, he said Wednesday.

“It really was difficult to maintain effective communications with the other two branches without having someone on site,” he said. “We took [Kelleher’s] old job and included some broader responsibilities.” Currently, there are about 50 vacant positions in the judiciary, all of them south of Augusta, according to Glessner.

During her first two weeks on the job, Lynch traveled to several high schools as part of the supreme court’s fall education tour. She also serves as a town councilor in Cape Elizabeth, where she and her husband, Gregg H. Ginn, have raised four sons.

jharrison@bangordailynews.net

990-8207

http://bangordailynews.com/2008/10/30/news/courts-liaison-not-new-to-state-house/ printed on September 14, 2014