AUGUSTA – Controversy over Governor LePage’s handling of Good Will-Hinkley rescinding an offer to hire Speaker of the House Mark Eves as the charter school’s president earlier this year made it’s way to the government oversight committee in Augusta Thursday morning.
After declining interview’s, two of the Governor’s top aides were subpoenaed by the committee last month.
Asked what they know about allegations the governor misused his power to make sure Eves didn’t get the job.
Earlier this year Governor LePage learned that Good Will-Hinkley planned to hire Mark Eves as it’s next president.
“His jaw dropped. He was shocked” said Aaron Chadbourne, the Governor’s Education Advisor, who was among the witnesses called to testify under oath Thursday.
“The governor lacked faith the in decision to hire the speak as the president of the school, I can understand why they would draw that conclusion”
What’s clear is that LePage did not see Eves as the correct choice for the job. What’s not, is if the he and his staff threatened to withhold funding.
DOE Deputy Commissioner Tom Desjardin said “They’re asking will the Governor be happy with Good Will-Hinkley again if you separate yourself from Speaker Eves, and I said probably”
Questions raised over a decision to withhold a check for 530,000 dollars.
“He told me it’s easier to hold on to a check than it is to ask for it back and that he then decided that it should be held” said Cynthia Montgomery, LePage’s Chief Attorney.
“The commissioner indicated that the Governor would not be happy with the school selecting the speaker, so can’t you see how they got the idea that the school funding was at risk. I can’t speak to his impression but I can understand how one would get that impression” said Desjardin.
Following hours of testimony the oversight committee is now faced with a decision on how to proceed moving forward. A decision that will come in the days ahead.