AUGUSTA, Maine — Former lawmaker Richard Rosen of Bucksport has been nominated by Gov. Paul LePage to become commissioner of the Department of Administrative and Financial Services.
Rosen has been acting commissioner of the department since the retirement of LePage’s former finance chief, H. Sawin Millett, in May. Rosen was formerly deputy finance commissioner and, before that, director of LePage’s Office of Policy and Management.
LePage’s nomination of Rosen is subject to review by the Legislature’s Appropriations Committee, followed by a confirmation vote in the Maine Senate. As a former member of both of those bodies who earned respect from both sides of the political spectrum, Rosen’s appointment is not likely to encounter serious opposition.
Rosen’s involvement with the executive branch ramped up after the closure of Rosen’s Department Store in Bucksport, which Rosen shuttered in mid-2013 after more than 100 years in business. Rosen served a total of seven terms in the Maine House and Senate and was Senate chairman of the Appropriations Committee for two years beginning in 2011.
LePage said in a written statement that Rosen has earned the nomination.
“For the last seven months, he has led DAFS through many important initiatives, including the development of my upcoming biennial budget,” said LePage. “Richard is a dedicated public servant and he will continue to serve the people of Maine well as commissioner.”
LePage, along with Rosen and other members of his Cabinet, is expected to present his proposed state budget for the next two years within the next week. The budget document, which has been under development for months, will span hundreds of pages and represent the first detailed look at LePage’s second-term policy agenda.
The Legislature will spend months collecting public testimony and debating the budget document, which must be enacted by the end of June. It will guide state spending from July 1, 2015, through June 30, 2016.
Rosen is a graduate of the University of Maine and serves on the boards of the Retail Association of Maine, Bucksport Regional Health Center and Northeast Historic Film. His wife, Sen. Kimberley Rosen, R-Bucksport, was elected to the Maine Senate in November after having served previous terms in the House of Representatives.
This is the second Cabinet-level nomination by LePage in recent days. On Dec. 23, LePage appointed and swore in Tom Desjardin, one of his senior advisers, to lead the Department of Education. The administration announced Desjardin’s appointment on Monday. Education Commissioner Jim Rier has been on medical leave since November. Chief Academic Officer Rachelle Tome, a department veteran, served as acting education commissioner in the weeks before Desjardin’s appointment.