10 reasons I can’t celebrate Mary Mayhew’s departure from DHHS

I wish I could celebrate Mary Mayhew’s departure, but …

  1. Her tenure at the helm of Maine DHHS lingers on the palate like a dry piece of burnt toast leftover from a couple days ago, so it’s hard to pick the right celebration beverage to kill that taste.
  2. I’m waiting to groan when I hear her name pop up again, whether she’s running for governor or heading to Washington or finding some other means in order to wreak havoc on social safety nets.
  3. Her management style and the amount of damage done by that management style is so problematic, it’ll be years before it will be appropriate to celebrate anything Maine DHHS-related.
  4. I’ve thought she wasn’t qualified to do the job from Day 1, so celebrating her departure six years later seems a bit anti-climatic.
  5. I truly don’t believe that any one commissioner can effectively lead the department as it currently stands. Someone with a firm enough grasp of the diverse needs service recipients won’t necessarily have a firm enough grasp of running an organization that large and vice versa. Therefore . . .
  6. . . . It seems hard to believe that anyone will be able to undo the damage done by this administration in a timely fashion.
  7. Even with Mayhew gone, Governor LePage and other elected officials who enabled her management style and her policies are still around.
  8. It doesn’t matter if it’s Commissioner Mayhew or Commissioner Anybody Else — something about upper echelon social service leadership renders people unable to understand the most basic things about the clients they serve.  (All the more reason to support citizen oversight of the department!)
  9. The current state of affairs at Maine DHHS is marked by so much sadness — rampant overdose death rates, stockpiling un-investigated abuse claims, service provider closures, etc. — the word celebration seems in poor taste.
  10. I was hoping to ambush her with questions outside a legislative hearing at least one more time, although I don’t think our first go-round was as cathartic for her as it was for me.
Patricia Callahan

About Patricia Callahan

Trish is a writer who lives in Augusta. She has worked professionally in education and social services.