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Written by Cyndi Wood   
Thursday, October 14, 2010 at 2:03 pm

Scott's Focus: Jobs, Energy Costs

Creating jobs, lowering energy costs and solving the state’s multibillion-dollar pension problem are among the greatest challenges facing Maine’s next governor, according to independent gubernatorial candidate Kevin Scott.

Kevin Scott, IndependentAs for the jobs, he said the solution begins with communication.

“You pick up the telephone, you get aggressive,” Scott said. “You get working to foster an environment where the regulatory environment is favorable and the energy and health care costs are reduced.”

He said Maine should solicit advice from those states that have been successful in attracting business. He said business owners should also be asked what attracted them to or discouraged them from coming to Maine.

On his website, Scott also advocates that state employees involved in economic development be paid on a commission basis for the number of jobs they attract.

Scott said he thinks government has much to learn from the corporate world’s “innovation” and “lean” practices.

“We can eliminate redundancies and things like that,” Scott said.

One of his campaign proposals is a voluntary 32-hour work week for state employees.

“I know for a fact that 40 hours is not the most productive model,” Scott said.

He said the shorter work week would bring the public payroll more in line with the private sector.

“There’s a real need to level the playing field,” Scott said.

Under his plan, current state employees could volunteer to work 32-hour weeks. He said the line of volunteers would be “out the door.”

The shorter work weeks would allow workers the opportunity to spend more time with their families and care for aging parents, he said.

Scott said a 32-hour work week would be preferable to furlough days because it would be offered on a voluntary basis and would be more predictable for family budgeting purposes.

In addition to soliciting volunteers, Scott said the state should analyze all positions to determine which could be completed within a 32-hour period. When a state employee in such a position leaves, he/she could be replaced with a 32-hour employee.

Scott said his plan would generate millions in savings that could help fund the pension liability. He said new state employees would be hired into a new pension system.

“We do not keep hiring into a broken pension model,” Scott explained.

He said he would hire an expert to develop a new system.

Scott said reduced state spending would attract more business to the state. He said reducing energy costs is also vital for businesses as well as families.

On his website, Scott wrote that as governor he would task Maine’s Public Utilities Commission to withdraw the state from ISO New England, which oversees the operation of New England’s bulk electric power system and transmission lines. He said the state should instead develop “a Maine-based energy agenda.”

Scott, 42, was born in Rumford and grew up in neighboring Mexico. He graduated from high school there in 1986.

He worked construction and waited tables to pay his way through George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. He earned a degree in government and politics in 1990.

In 1998, he opened his company Recruiting Resources International, an employment firm that places professionals in engineering assignments.

Scott and his wife, Susan Merrow, live in Andover. Scott has served on the Andover Planning Board and chairs the Andover Water District Board of Trustees.

Scott said if elected, he intends to be a strong advocate for sportsmen and those in the state’s fishing industry.

“I will be the single biggest champion for a Maine-based agenda,” Scott said.