DHHS official leaves department, former conservative think tank official promoted to job

Posted May 05, 2014, at 5:53 p.m.
Last modified May 06, 2014, at 1:40 p.m.

AUGUSTA, Maine — The chief operating officer for the Maine Department of Health and Human Services is leaving his post to return to the private sector, according a spokesman for the agency

According to DHHS spokesman John Martins, William Boeschenstein Jr. of Cape Elizabeth, who served with DHHS since March 2011, will be replaced by Sam Adolphsen, who was promoted to deputy commissioner of finance at the agency in December 2013.

Martins said Boeschenstein’s last day with DHHS was Friday.

“We had been aware for some months of Bill’s desire to pursue other interests in the private sector and to be closer to home and his family,” Martins wrote in an email to the Sun Journal. “Bill agreed to stay on through the end of the recent legislative session.”

Adolphsen, the former director of the conservative Maine Heritage Policy Center’s Center for Open Government and the organization’s former director of government and external affairs, was appointed deputy commissioner of finance by DHHS Commissioner Mary Mayhew on Dec. 2.

As director of strategic development at the department, Adolphsen oversaw the awarding of a nearly $1 million no-bid contract for a Medicaid study to the Rhode Island-based Alexander Group, which came under fire from Democratic lawmakers, who tried to stop the contract.

Alec Porteous has joined DHHS in Adolphsen’s former role.

“Alec has a diverse background in the private and government sectors,” Martins wrote. Porteous worked formerly as a state office representative, finance director and legislative assistant for Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins.

He also served in the private sector for two years as a policy adviser who focused on financial services.

Boeschenstein was a key figure in an investigation and hearings over improper document shredding by top officials at the Maine Center for Disease Control.

And in January he told the Legislature’s Government Oversight Committee that the agency could do more to clarify which documents it should retain and which it should destroy.

CDC workers, he said, should have been aware of the need to be fair and transparent in their dealings. Shredding documents, he agreed, was not consistent with transparency.

“I would say that if a person knowingly knew that a document was to be retained and they ordered it shredded, that is wrong,” Boeschenstein said at the time. “However, there’s a lot of gray area about what should be retained.”

He also acknowledge the methodology for determining funding levels for local organizations that participate in the state’s Healthy Maine Partnerships program was flawed and “poorly implemented.”

According to the state’s Maine Open Checkbook website, which details state employee compensation and other state expenditures, Boeschenstein was paid $97,294 in salary in 2013 and received health care benefits valued at $15,318.

When he was hired by the administration of Republican Gov. Paul LePage, DHHS heralded his “more than 30 years of experience in the banking and energy industries. Boeschenstein has worked for large, multi-billion-dollar organizations in both the United States and England.”

Most recently, Boeschenstein founded, ran and eventually sold his own business, which specialized in managing investment risks in energy for major corporations.

“Bill has managed large teams throughout his career and is a quick learner,” said Mayhew in a prepared statement announcing his hiring. “His expertise in operations, strategic planning and financial analysis has helped create results-based work environments that stress teamwork, personal accountability and customer service excellence.”

Boeschenstein also worked on LePage’s transition team.

Both Adolphsen and Porteous started in their new roles Monday, according to Martins.

 

CORRECTION:

A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that Porteous served as a policy adviser who focused on financial services for Sen. Susan Collins. He worked in the private sector.

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