Maine Democrats: “LePage Must Take Responsibility For $4.8M Compliance Error”; Furious Admin Plans to Appeal USDA Decision

Posted on September 27, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , |

Things are heating up in Augusta! From MPBN:

    DHHS Commissioner Mary Mayhew is furious at the Food and Nutrition Service and its demand for payment, and said the state will appeal. She said her office sought to recover the money from the recipients in the first place, because it was told to do so by the Food and Nutrition Service.

    “We will be appealing this decision, it is not only inconsistent with the practice of FNS, it is inconsistent with a letter we received from this same federal agency six months prior demanding that we collect the overpayment,” Mayhew said.

    Mayhew is upset at the assertion in the letter that the state has a systemic problem in how it handles the food stamp program. The very same letter, she said, praises the state’s administration of the program.

    “In the exact same letter, that they issued this week, they are commending the state of Maine for our system in administering this federal program and that we are eligible to receive bonus funding for how well we have administered the program,” she said.

Earlier today, State Senator Justin Alfond and House Minority Leader Emily Cain responded to the news with a joint press release:

    “The Administration’s ongoing neglect of the law and mismanagement is costing Maine tax payers,” said Assistant Democratic Leader Senator Justin Alfond of Portland. “As seen here, the Administration’s arrogant approach is harmful to Maine families and now it’s costing all of us.”

    “We are relieved to hear that struggling families won’t have to pay the price for the LePage administration’s mismanagement,” said House Democratic Leader Emily Cain of Orono. “The administration must take responsibility for its mistakes, not shift costs to Maine people.”

    Alfond added, “This $4.8 million mistake is only what we know about today. Who can guess at what other ‘errors’ have yet to be uncovered.

A fair question. Maine must file any appeal within ten days and then must file arguments with an appeals board set up to hear state appeals of rulings within 30 days. The appeals board then has another 30 days to issue a ruling, which can be appealed to the courts if necessary.

*Related: (UPDATED) USDA To Mayhew, DHHS: $4.8M SNAP Overpayment Cannot Be Recouped From Affected 70k Maine Families

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