Senate confirms Sawin Millett as finance nominee

BDN staff and wire reports
Posted Jan. 20, 2011, at 3:19 p.m.

AUGUSTA, Maine — The Maine Senate confirmed Sawin Millett as the first of Gov. Paul LePage’s Cabinet members during a unanimous vote on Thursday.

As the state’s finance commissioner, Millett will oversee state budget preparation, tax collections and other duties. Millett is a widely respected former Republican state lawmaker from Waterford who has held Cabinet positions in previous administrations.

But because of an upcoming medical treatment for a knee problem, Millett will not immediately take on the full workload of commissioner of the Department of Administrative and Financial Services, LePage spokesman Dan Demeritt said Thursday night.

Demeritt said Millett will work remotely and come to the State House when possible.

In the meantime, Maine’s previous finance commissioner, Ryan Low, has agreed to work with the administration and Legislature as they craft a supplemental budget for the current fiscal year and a new two-year budget.

“The governor is extremely grateful to both Ryan and the chancellor for making this accommodation,” Demeritt said.

Low left the Baldacci administration last year to become vice president of administration at the University of Maine at Farmington but advised the LePage transition team on budget issues.

Sen. Barry Hobbins, a Saco Democrat who serves as Senate minority leader, wished Millett well and commended the LePage administration for working out a solution.

“It is probably a plus for the state because we will have two brilliant minds who will be in sync on the budget issues,” Hobbins said.

In other news, legislative committees endorsed the nominations of three other LePage commissioners.

The Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee endorsed Bill Beardsley of Ellsworth for commissioner of the Department of Conservation.

The Labor, Commerce, Research and Economic Development Committee approved the appointment of Philip Congdon of Round Pond for commissioner of Economic and Community Development.

And Norman Olsen of Cherryfield, LePage’s nominee for Marine Resources commissioner, won committee approval for that post.

All three candidates are expected to win Senate confirmation.

BDN staff writer Kevin Miller contributed to this report.

http://bangordailynews.com/2011/01/20/politics/3-maine-cabinet-nominees-face-hearings/ printed on July 13, 2014