Walking on broken glass

By AL DIAMON  |  December 15, 2010

SCHOOL CONSOLIDATION "I don't support the reduction of the number of school districts," Baldacci told the Portland Press Herald in 2006. "I do support reducing the number of administrators in school districts." The governor then came up with a mind-numbingly complicated proposal to reduce the number of districts from 290 to 80. Today, we have 179 districts, 82 of which aren't in compliance with the law. Nobody seems to be saving money. Nobody's happy. It's not easy to achieve such unanimity.

JAIL CONSOLIDATION The governor merged the jails with the schools, thereby putting all the juvenile delinquents in one place. No, wait, that isn't it. The county jails were integrated with the state corrections system to better utilize facilities. Amazingly, this worked, and while it hasn't reduced spending, it has caused it to increase at a slower pace than under the old system.

REFORMING THE DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES As a candidate, Baldacci promised to create a Department of Children and Family Services to focus on kids at risk. As governor, he merged the red-tape-strangled bureaucracy at DHS with the legally inept leadership of the Department of Mental Health to create the enormous Department of Health and Human Services, which has since devoted most of its time and resources to trying to fix its Medicaid computer system. Should have asked for help from those at-risk kids. Lots of them are computer wizards.

Next week: Baldacci's failures. No big photo needed.

I measure my success by your comments e-mailed toaldiamon@herniahill.net.

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