Sweetser Counselor to House Speaker: "I have seen significant abuse of TANF, SNAP…"


A counselor working for the non-profit Sweetser has told House Speaker Mark W. Eves (D-North Berwick) that she has witnessed significant abuse of welfare programs and that stopping welfare abuse would be a good way for the state to save money.

Elizabeth S. Bodor of Scarborough wrote Eves in January regarding MaineCare and Medicaid reimbursements for Licensed Clinical Professional Counselors (LCPCs) and Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSWs). The purpose of her email was to object to a provision of Gov. Paul LePage’s budget proposal which would have limited MaineCare reimbursements to professionals like her.

But in the end of her message, Bodor writes, “I understand that the Governor is solely looking for cost savings, however in this instance, paying for outpatient behavioral health services costs the state far less than paying for ongoing medical care and/or hospitalization for behavioral health problems. I have seen significant abuse of TANF, SNAP, and especially disability in Biddeford; I feel that focusing on investigating and stopping these abuses would be a much more fruitful way to cut expenses.

TANF is the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program. SNAP is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, otherwise known as food stamps.

The email was obtained as part of a public records request submitted to the House Speaker’s office for communications regarding Sweetser.

Since receiving this message from Bodor, Eves has emerged as the top opponent of Republican efforts to stop welfare abuse and reform Maine’s welfare programs. Read the full email here:


  1. “SweetserCounselor” (even though her points are valid) tells House Speaker Mark Eves (ANOTHER EMPLOYEE OF SWEETSER) ——Sweester, in fact, has a HUGE FINANCIAL INTEREST in expanding Medicare/Medicaid coverages. Their very existence in the State of Maine depends on being FUNDED by Maine taxpayers. That wouldn’t be so sad if their employees were actually trained and capable of doing their jobs.

  2. Eves got a masters degree from a theological seminary, not especially known for the quality of its programs in the area of counseling; with the exception of pastorial counseling:


    Louisville Seminary provides transformative theological education for the practice of ministry in a diverse world. Engaging faith to engage the world, Louisville Seminary is committed to listening generously, bridging difference and telling the good news.”

    One has to wonder whether Eves is at heart an evangelical who hides his ministry and calling behind a degree—but no prof. credentials??? in marriage and family therapy.

    From the on-line web site indicating which advanced degrees are offered:
    “Master of Divinity;
    Master of Arts in Marriage & Family Therapy;
    Dual Degrees Master of Arts (Religion);
    Doctor of Ministry Doors to Dialogue (D2D);
    Black Church Studies ”

    I’d suggest you find out whether he is really qualified to do what he says he does; is he even reimbursable under OBAMACARE?

    I doubt if it makes any difference to his status; but were he a conservative minister in a position of power and influence in funding a large social services program, I’m positive Nemitz, et. al. would be all over him.

  3. Is a masters degree and some kind of national counseling credential the equivalent of an LCSW? Given how easy it is to get a counseling degree and how much money is spent reimbursing their services, an open debate on the qualifications of both is long overdue, esp. if the rate of reimbursement is raised for one group or lowered for the other.

    Here’s what they are for an LCSW:

    The practice of licensed clinical social work and the use of the title “Licensed Clinical Social Worker” and the designation of “LCSW” or derivatives thereof in New York State requires licensure as a licensed clinical social worker, unless otherwise exempt under the law.

    “To be licensed as a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) in New York State you must:

    >be of good moral character;
    >be at least 21 years of age;
    >have an education that includes a masters degree in social work (M.S.W.) with at least 12 semester hours of clinical coursework acceptable to the Department;
    >have at least 3 years of post M.S.W. supervised experience in diagnosis, psychotherapy and assessment-based treatment planning acceptable to the Department;
    >meet clinical examination requirements; and
    >complete coursework or training in the identification and reporting of child abuse offered by a New York State approved provider”

    Is Eve’s degree and experience the equivalent? .

  4. When are the Maine AG and the Ethics Committee going to investigate the alleged conflict of interest for Speaker Eves? How can he work with Sweetser and tout for more Medicaid for Sweetser?

    When are both Eves and Alfond going to admit that welfare reforms are needed in Maine, and stop fighting the reasonable measures being proposed by Republicans?


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