Maine budget bill merges 2 state departments

Posted May 16, 2012, at 8:33 p.m.

AUGUSTA, Maine — The supplemental budget bill just signed by Gov. Paul LePage does more than cut social services. It also consolidates two state departments into a new Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry.

The new department merges the state Department of Conservation and the Department of Agriculture, Food and Rural Resources. The new department will assume and oversee the duties and responsibilities of both former departments.

By putting the departments together, the administration hopes to have a focused approach to the management, development and promotion of land-based activities throughout the state.

The move is also expected to make more efficient use of scarce resources, reduce duplication and compete competitively for funding. It eliminates one commissioner’s position, with savings of more than $100,000. No other positions are changed.