AUGUSTA (NEWS CENTER Maine) — The Legislature’s Government Oversight Committee voted to subpoena a DHHS official apparently who refused to appear before the committee to answer questions.

The lawmakers voted 8 to 1 to subpoena Bethany Hamm, director of the DHHS Office of Family Independence, who oversees the TANF ( Temporary Assistance to Needy Families) program Thursday.

The Committee had asked Hamm to answer questions as part of their investigation into reductions in the TANF program, and what happened to families that lost those benefits. Hamm sent the committee written answers to question, but Sen. Bill Diamond (D-Windham) said much more can be accomplished through a back and forth discussion.

The Governor’s Office said LePage’s long-standing policy is to have administration members respond to Legislative Committee question's in writing, rather than appear in person, to make better use of their time.

Committee members say it slows down and frustrates the process of getting needed answers and information.