LePage administration taps 2 bureaucrats to lead Maine CDC

Gov. Paul LePage’s administration has promoted two employees to lead the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, according to a memo to staff obtained by the Bangor Daily News.

It said Sheryl Peavey is the CDC’s new chief operating officer in charge of “day-to-day operational decision-making” and Dr. Chris Pezzullo will “inform decisions affecting public health” as the state health officer.

This appears to be a new power-sharing arrangement at the CDC after its last director, Kenneth Albert, resigned from the department earlier this month for a job in the private sector.

A memo from Health and Human Services Commissioner Mary Mayhew was forwarded to the newspaper on Thursday, but department spokespeople didn’t respond to messages seeking confirmation.

The Maine CDC’s website still lists Albert as the director and COO, with Pezzullo listed in his old position. Neither Peavey nor Pezzullo had updated their LinkedIn pages to reflect the new jobs, in which Mayhew’s memo said they’ll report directly to her.

Peavey predates the LePage administration at DHHS, since she was hired in 2004 to run the Maine Early Childhood Initiative. But since 2013, she has been DHHS’ director of strategic reform, with a focus on budgets, requests for proposal and performance evaluation.

As the department’s chief health officer since 2014, Pezzullo was the face of LePage’s prescription monitoring bill that passed this year. In 2017, doctors must limit opiate prescriptions to seven days for acute pain and 30 days for chronic pain and also check patients against a monitoring registry.

Michael Shepherd

About Michael Shepherd

Michael Shepherd joined the Bangor Daily News in 2015 after covering state, federal and local issues for the Kennebec Journal for three years. He's a Hallowell native who now lives in Gardiner. He graduated from the University of Maine in 2012 and is a graduate student at the University of Southern Maine's Muskie School of Public Service.