Maine’s Republican Gov. Paul LePage said Thursday he would forgo the state’s nomination process in selecting a new education commissioner and instead lead the Department of Education’s dealings with the Legislature.
LePage said acting Commissioner William Beardsley will remain in a leadership position at the Department of Education. The governor suggested Beardsley would serve out his term as acting commissioner, which is limited by statute to six months, then would remain in the department as deputy commissioner.
“I will be the commissioner,” LePage said Thursday morning during an event hosted by a Lewiston-Auburn business group. He later clarified Thursday’s statement, saying he would sign papers and appear at legislative hearings in lieu of a commissioner.
Thursday’s statement comes two days after LePage withdrew Beardsley’s nomination before the Legislature for the position, saying that decision was temporary.
It appears LePage intends to keep Beardsley at the helm of the Department of Education, but without the title of commissioner.