dan demerittDan Demeritt, former communications director to Maine Gov. Paul LePage, has moved to the $529M Univ. of Maine System as executive director of public affairs.

He takes the reins from Peggy Leonard, who is moving to the internal communications manager slot in the system's HR unit, which oversees its 5,000 employees. Trustees plan to cut 150 positions in a bid to cut a $36M budget shortfall, according to the Bangor Daily News.

Demeritt is charged with developing and implementing a communications program for the system. An alum of the system's Univ. of Southern Maine, he has been consulting for the past three years since leaving LePage's office. He was press secretary for the mercurial Republican's 2010 campaign, earlier served as director communications for the House Republican Office in the Maine legislature and was a staffer to Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME).

The 40,000-student system includes seven universities, a law school and other education and cultural facilities.