BOSTON - Samuel Shapiro was elected to an eighth term as treasurer of Maine by the state legislature late Wednesday evening.
This will be Shapiro's last term - last year Maine voters approved a limit of four two-year terms for state offices.
Shapiro was approved by a joint 96-to-90 vote of the state's House of Representatives and Senate. This year's vote was one of the closest that Shapiro has ever faced.
The victory makes Shapiro the state treasurer with the second-longest tenure of office. He trails only Harlan E. Boyles, treasurer of North Carolina, who has been in office since 1976.
Maine is one of only four states where the legislature elects the state treasurer. New Hampshire, Maryland, and Tennessee are the other three.
Shapiro said that if he had his way, the legislature would no longer fill his position.
"I think the treasurer should be chosen by the people of the state of Maine," Shapiro said. "There are petitions circulating now to get that changed."
Shapiro, known for his colorful discourses on the municipal market and his knowledge of Civil War hero Gen. Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, has been an outspoken critic of many of the practices in the municipal market.
At The Bond Buyer's second annual Northeast Public Finance Conference, held earlier this fall, Shapiro said that the notion that municipal deals are awarded on a pay-to-play basis is false.
In an interview yesterday, Shapiro said he'll be outspoken about managing Maine's finances.
"I plan to be more aggressive in my public discussions about the state legislature's financial and fiduciary responsibilities," he said. "I have always done this more on a private basis, but I think it is time that this is done more publicly."
Shapiro said he will also continue to recommend against using certificates of participation, instruments that he said are "fiscally irresponsible."
The state's Department of Transportation has a $20 million COP deal set for this month or January for the purchase of trucks.
Shapiro said he has met with Governor-elect Angus King and said they plan a trip to New York City early next year to meet with the rating agencies. King, an independent, is a fiscal conservative and does not expect the state to sell a lot of bonds, Shapiro said.