Commissioner Nominees for MDOT and Corrections Chosen

January 24, 2011

Augusta, Maine – Governor Paul LePage today nominated David Bernhardt to lead the Department of Transportation and Joseph Ponte to serve as head of the Corrections Department.

Bernhardt, who is from Vassalboro has been employed by the state since 1984. Bernhardt is currently the Director of Engineering and Operations for the Department of Transportation. The Governor said that in just four years Bernhardt was able to implement major changes within the department, including the consolidation of maintenance facilities and partnership with New Hampshire to save on purchases such as road paint and culverts, which saved the Bureau $10 million dollars in annual savings.

“It’s that kind of resourcefulness David has demonstrated that we all need to look to,” said Governor LePage. “Times are tough. If there are ways to be saving money we need to be doing it. I’m impressed by what David has been able to achieve.”

The Governor also announced Joseph Ponte as his Department of Corrections nominee. Ponte’s previous post was as warden for Corrections Corporation of America-Nevada Southern Detention Center located in Pahrump, Nevada. Ponte began his career in 1969 as a correctional officer at the Massachusetts Department of Corrections, where he promoted through the ranks to become warden at two different facilities and was later named assistant deputy commissioner. Ponte has also successfully led two facilities through the American Correctional Association accreditation process.

“Joe has demonstrated his leadership through proven success,” said Governor LePage. “I am especially impressed with Joe’s leadership in turning around troubled facilities and organizations. In Walpole, Massachusetts he took leadership of a prison known for its high violence and problems. In five years as Warden, he turned things around and left the facility as a well-run, maximum-security prison.”

Governor LePage has nominated nine other Commissioners, they are:

William Beardsley – Department of Conservation, Darryl Brown – Department of Environmental Protection, Phillip Congdon – Department of Economic and Community Development, John Libby – Department of Defense, Veterans and Emergency Management, Mary Mayhew – Department of Health and Human Services, Sawin Millett – Department of Administrative and Financial Services, John Morris – Department of Public Safety, Norman Olsen – Department of Marine Resources, Walter Whitcomb – Department of Agriculture

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