Charles Dickens once wrote: “Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, benevolence, were all my business. The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business.”
One might expect that the Commissioner of a state agency named the “Department of Health and Human Services” would exhibit the qualities Dickens mentioned. At the very least, one would hope to see a healthy dose of compassion.
Unfortunately, the state of Maine’s very own Mary Mayhew exhibits none of the above.
After having spent the better part of the past few years on the political defensive, Ms. Mayhew has apparently interpreted the shocking re-election of her mentor, Gov. Paul LePage, as some sort of sign to go on the attack. Unfortunately, she’s attempting to gain political traction at the expense of Maine’s least fortunate citizens; the chronically homeless, those suffering from mental illness, and individuals who are simply “down on their luck”. Mary Mayhew is a strident opponent of anyone who falls into these categories.
It wasn’t enough for Ms. Mayhew to stridently oppose an expansion of Medicaid that would have provided health insurance to more than 60,000 low income residents of our state (with the federal government paying 100% of expansion costs before gradually drawing down to a 90% reimbursement rate). It wasn’t enough for Ms. Mayhew to oversee the move of the DHHS Cumberland County regional office four miles away from the edge of Portland’s downtown to the Jetport—thereby making it more difficult to reach for those seeking state services/assistance. It wasn’t enough for Ms. Mayhew to oversee the botched $28.3 million contract with a Connecticut-based company (CTS) that consistently failed to provide the service for which it was hired—arranging rides for Medicaid patients. Finally, wasn’t it Mary Mayhew who (along with Gov. LePage) happily forked over a million dollars to the Alexander Group for an impartial and partisan PR report on Maine’s Medicaid and welfare programs—only to have the report exposed as a plagiarized sham?
Now we learn that Ms. Mayhew apparently commissioned an audit of Portland’s City shelters and found “irregularities”…as opposed to her own financial failures and shenanigans?
If Ms. Mayhew is (as some have suggested) entertaining the notion of running for Governor in 2016, then it’s time to rein in the flying monkeys, apologize to the city’s shelter staff and residents, and work to build a state government that focuses on the dignity of each and every human being. She should be willing to support a living wage, advocating the building of safe and affordable housing, and working to provide decent medical services, available to all—which should certainly include first class mental health care (no more Riverview fiascos, please) The people of Maine should expect no less from their (barely) re-elected leaders.