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Alyce Maragus

The Responsibilities of Holding Public Office
By Alyce Maragus
Nov 16, 2008 - 8:13:25 PM

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I happen to believe that people who hold public office should be held accountable to that office and to the people who believed in them enough to vote them into office in order to represent them.

We seem to have come to the point where we believe that, even if public officials have violated their alligence to the public and have disappointed those who voted for them, simply because they are public officials, their misdeeds should be swept under the rug and not brought to the public's attention.

Let's go back in history. Only after John F. Kennedy was assassinated were his turbulent sexual encounters made public. Only after Watergate came to light was Richard M. Nixon forced to resign. Only after Bill Clinton's dalliance with one of his pages became public was he placed in a position to pay for his indiscretions.

Why does it take us, the people, so long to understand that these people are not necessarily honorable, and why are we surprised when their misdoings are brought to light?

There are going to be a lot of questions regarding my outburst at the recent (11/10/08) council meeting. In my defense I offer the following explanation.

It was my intention to uncover what I believe was another deception foisted upon the voters of Millinocket. Certain of us already knew that Bruce McLean could not serve as both the Executive Director of MAGIC and as a Millinocket councilor. It was only logical that his loyalties would be divided, and that a "conflict of interest" would become apparent.

Sure enough, that was the case. When Katahdin Paper announced the possible closure of the Millinocket mill on June 2nd, McLean sent an E-mail to John Richardson, the Commissioner of Economic and Community Development for the state of Maine. In that E-mail, he was already asking the Commissioner to discuss the possibility of where best to allocate the $75,000. that was designated for our area. His exact quote was, "I would like to "chat" with you about this because MAGIC, as an entity, may or may not be the best vehicle for this money. However, EMDC may not be the best vehicle either."

Now McLean can try to defend his statement, but any intelligent person would realize that McLean intended to "chat" with the Commissioner in order to pursue MAGIC's interests, even though MAGIC was so longer funded by the tri-town area.

In a further E-mail, sent toward the end of September, McLean continued to expound the virtures of both MAGIC and KRDC, neither of which have really done much if anything to help the area.

In fact, McLean noted to the Commissioner that "it troubles me that (DECD) hasn't given any recognition to the fact that - MAGIC - or KRDC - would be more appropriate vehicles for these funds." He further stated in that E-mail that " I don't feel that Millinocket has the best wishes of the region in mind when discussing how best to utilize these funds and I would urge you to reconsider who will receive them and how they will be utilized". When he tried to trash his very own town he stepped over the line, as he was working against the interests of the town whose citizens elected him to represent their interests, not his own, or MAGIC's.

Maybe you people out there can excuse his comments, but I surely cannot. To those of you who voted him into office, I'm sure you did so with the idea that he had Millinocket's best interests in mind. If so, read the E-mail again - Does it sound that way? In my opinion it sounds as though MAGIC and KRDC come first, not Millinocket.

Having received a copy of these E-mails early Monday morning (11/10/08), I stewed over them all day long. Then I attended the council meeting and had to sit through the Proclamation presented to McLean for his service to the town of Millinocket.

I apologize to all involved, but I could not morally or with due respect to all who voted McLean into office thinking he was working for your town, sit there and let his actions be swept under the rug.

I also apologize for any embarrassment I may have caused the council Chairman, but as a taxpayer and advocate for the public, I firmly believe we must expose those elected officials who are working against our better interests. However, let me make it clear, I refuse to apologize for the message I attempted to send to the public.

It was my intention to expose McLean for his actions against the town regardless of the Chairman's objections.

I hope it was not a wasted effort.

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