Friday, May 31, 2013

An Open Letter to President of the Maine Senate Justin Alfond on LD47

The following is a letter that was sent to Senator Justin Alfond asking for the reasons on tabling a bill that parents and the Judicial Branch do not want:

Subject: LD 47: Please, "kill" it!


President of the Maine Senate
Justin Alfond

Dear Senator Alfond,

Re LD 47 a bill to extend the Parent Coordinator program.

I am writing to add my name to the growing list of Maine people, who are distressed by the current turn of events surrounding LD 47.  The bill seeks to extend the parent coordinator law until 2016, pending further “study”.  It adds budget for a “supervisor”, and it seeks to determine if the program “has benefit”.  We ask, “benefit for whom and judged by whom?”  Are we talking about obvious “benefits” for Parent coordinators and lawyers, or “benefits” for the opposing public?  To loosely paraphrase an expression from recent years, is it about protecting  the famous 1% or the 99%?.

What is perplexing to growing numbers of the public is why this bill was tabled in the Senate- as we understand it from several sources, on orders from you through the caucus (on a motion from Senator Valentino).  From whence comes the groundswell to save this bill?  it is widely said that the groundswell for saving LD 47 comes from Rep Terry Hayes, a Guardian ad litem/Parental Coordinator herself, and Reps DeChant and Moonen, who were the minority opposing the majority vote to kill LD 47 in the Judiciary Committee.  It is also said that there is a group of Portland lawyers, who have a  financial and professional interest in saving the bill.  It is last ditch lobbying by special interests for their personal  “income preservation”.

Our question as observers is whether lobbying will prevail over the classical legislative process, which has voiced an opinion quite contrary to the “special interests”.  We also can’t avoid the impression that by tabling a vote on LD 47, you are backing those with a “special interest” in it.  We are also concerned that the proposed amendment to LD 47  is so shamefully bogus as to insult  the intelligence of  both the legislature and the public.

As we understand the amendment to LD 47, it proposes a supervisor (or coordinator) to have n unspecified role doing unspecified things with Parent Coordinators for a period until 2016.  As you may be aware there are no job descriptions for the proposed supervisors or for their putative supervisees, nor are there any existing rules or standard for supervisor or Parent Coordinator supervisee, so supervision become a very mystical thing.  What would the supervisor do in actual supervision without the guidelines of a job description or rules and standards?  Furthermore, for whom would the supervisor of Parent Coordinators work (organizational chain of command)?  How would “due process” issues be protected in district court cases?  And ... finally, is the Judicial Branch asking for “Coordinators of Parent Coordinators?  Have  Rep Terry Hayes and the Portland lawyers usurped Mary Ann Lynches role?  We have heard further rumors that LD 47 might be embedded in LD 872, Senator Dutremble’s bill.  It would be shameful to do this.  It would be like grafting an invasive cancer into a healthy body!

Even a superficial analysis of the amendment to LD 47 raises the suspicion that it is so badly conceived, from any functional point of view, that is seems to be  a ruse on the part of  Guardian ad litem/Parental Coordinator, Rep Hayes to extend the life of a bill that appeared to be going down to a well-deserved legislative death.  Rep Hayes has a long experience in the Maine legislature, which makes us wonder whether this bill is offered by her friends in gratitude for her public service and to protect her financially in her old age?

The problems of Parent Coordinators are - if possible - even worse that the Guardian ad litem scandal.  Like Guardians ad litem, they have no supervision, no oversight, operate virtually ‘ad lib’ for a year with no fee cap, generating huge fees that impoverish the parties.  There are no rules and regulations, no standards.  It is a gold mine for the Parent Coordinator - no wonder they are fighting vigorously to preserve this lush source of income.  In our opinion it is a license to plunder.

LD 47 and its amendment ought to be “killed” asap!  Please, use your leadership to do so.  We join other members of the public with the hope that people can count on you to protect them from "special interest" abuse.


Jerome A Collins, MD

Kennebunkport, Maine

To view the original bill LD47 sponsored by Representative Terry Hayes (Guardian ad litem). The Amendment to LD47.


  1. Whose side is Senate President Alfond on? Does he care about Maine children and families, or is his loyalty to his political base: Portland lawyers?

    The divorce industry or divorce industry victims?

    1. Thank you for the comment: It would appear that Senate President Justin Alfond is for Family lawyers and the divorce industry. But that is only an opinion...

  2. Why are Reps DeChant and Moonen supporting LD 47? Is it about the bill itself, or is it about Rep Terry Hayes?

    1. There is no answer to this. It is unknown and will probably remain so - as to why these Representatives are supporting a bill that appears to be supported by members of the divorce industry and family lawyers. These two Representatives heard biting testimony as to why Parenting Coordinators did not help. This testimony from parents hurt by the process. They also heard how the Judicial Branch did not want this role to continue. It appears that it is not about the bill itself but about......

  3. LD 47 was killed in the Maine Senate this afternoon. After a similar vote to kill it in the Maine House on May 21st, the bill is finally dead. It is an important statement from our legislators on behalf of children and families in Maine. No more unsupervised people operating under the radar with no accountability and causing irreparable harm while they impoverish.

    Now on to LD 872, the Dutremble bill and comprehensive reform.

    Thanks to all involved, especially Senator David Dutremble , along with Rep Lisa Villa, Senator Valentino, Rep Priest and 8 other members of the Judiciary Committee.