Statement by AFSCME Council 93 Executive Director Frank Moroney on Governor LePage’s closure of the Downeast Correctional Facility:
“Early this morning, under the cover of darkness, Governor LePage moved forward with his reckless plan to close the Downeast Correctional Facility in Machiasport. Approximately 65 inmates were moved to the overcrowded and understaffed Mountain View Correctional Facility in Charleston and 31 experienced and dedicated AFSCME Corrections Officers received layoff notices effective March 2.
Due to the inability of the Charleston facility to accommodate this sudden influx of inmates, we are deeply concerned for safety of our corrections officers and all of the dedicated staff in Charleston.
Unfortunately, Governor LePage has chosen to risk the possibility of a prison riot by placing his longstanding goal of closing this facility ahead of the safety of his workers.
On multiple occasions, the state legislature has acted in a bipartisan manner to expressly forbid the governor from closing this facility. Most recently, the legislature’s Joint Committee on Criminal Justice and Public Safety voted unanimously this month to keep the facility open.
According to an April 27, 2017 advisory opinion from the State Attorney General’s Office, (see attached) ‘the Downeast Correctional Facility is established by statute’ and ‘the Governor cannot unilaterally amend statutes without violating the separation of powers provisions in article III of the Maine Constitution.’
Apparently, Governor LePage views himself as a leader who is above the law and above the state constitution. We are calling on Governor LePage to halt this dangerous plan and we are calling on the Attorney General to intervene immediately.”
Frank Moroney, Executive Director
AFSCME Council 93
Below is a letter from Chief Deputy Attorney General Linda Pistner sent to Washington County Senator Joyce Maker in 2017:AGadvisoryopinion