AUGUSTA — Top Democrats on the state’s Health and Human Services Committee on Monday introduced a proposal to cancel the state’s $1 million no-bid contract with the controversial consultant Gary Alexander. The bill comes as lawmakers look to fill an estimated $70 million budget hole for fiscal year 2014.
Alexander was hired by Governor Paul LePage to study the state’s safety net programs and Medicaid expansion. The first report from Alexander’s consulting firm, was a month late, contained seriously flaws, and a $575 million error. As Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare, Alexander’s mismanagement and failed policies cost Pennsylvania taxpayers $7 million and resulted in 89,000 children losing health care.
“This is just one more in a tragic series of management errors from Governor LePage that is costing Maine taxpayers lots of money with little positive outcome,” Rep. Richard Farnsworth of Portland, the House Chair of the Health and Human Services Committee. “This kind of mismanagement has got to come to an end and this is where we need to start.”
The state has already paid Alexander $185, 040 from federal and state dollars designated to help struggling families who are forced to turn to the state’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program. The Alexander Group is expected to provide additional reports to lawmakers in the coming months.
Governor LePage is a self-described “turnaround specialist” from the private sector, but his administration has been plagued by mismanagement that has hurt Maine people and the state’s economy.
In recent months, the LePage administration lost $20 million in federal funding for Riverview Psychiatric Center by ignoring federal law, squandered $28 million on a “lame duck” contractor for MaineCare transportation services, and is currently under investigation for alleged document shredding at the Maine Centers for Disease Control.
“The Alexander Report fiasco is yet another example of Governor LePage’s pattern of mismanagement,” said Senator Margaret Craven of Lewiston, the Senate Chair of the Health and Human Services Committee. “His failure to lead and inability to manage are hurting Maine people and Maine’s economy.”
Maine now ranks 50th among states in private sector job growth since January 2011, according to the Maine Center for Economic Policy’s analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics, Regional and State Employment and Unemployment Data.
The bill, “An Act to Cancel the No-Bid Alexander Group Contract to Produce Budget Savings in Fiscal Year 2014,” will be referred to committee in the coming weeks.