Griffin Loses Spot On State Board

  • Julia Griffin

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 1/5/2018 11:48:06 PM
Modified: 1/5/2018 11:48:16 PM

Hanover — New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu has opted not to reappoint Hanover Town Manager Julia Griffin to the New Hampshire Retirement System Board of Trustees, prompting the veteran municipal official to suggest partisanship was behind the decision.

Griffin began her service on the board, which holds fiduciary responsibility and makes final investment decisions for public employees’ pensions, in 2014. With her term set to expire in September 2017, the New Hampshire Municipal Association re-nominated her in July.

Despite receiving a recommendation from Republican Executive Councilor Joe Kenney in November, Griffin said, she received no word from the Governor’s Office about whether she would be reappointed until she inquired via email this week. Officials then told her another candidate, Scott Myers, the city manager in Laconia, N.H., would get the post.

Griffin continues to act as a board member while the nomination process is pending, despite the expiration of her term, with meeting minutes from December recording her votes on board matters.

“I find it troubling that after serving for only 2.5 years, I am not being renominated,” Griffin said in an email to the Governor’s Office and some other officials, including Kenney and the two Democrats on the Executive Council, that she forwarded to the Valley News.

“Is it because I am a woman? The town manager of a community that generally votes for Democratic candidates? Because we are in the news as a community with a large number of student voters? Over this summer’s bear issue? Or because of the general disdain the governor has for (New Hampshire Municipal Association)? I can only be left assuming these are all the case.”

Griffin has spent nearly three decades in municipal government, serving for years as a manager in Concord before coming to Hanover. She also helped oversee the multimillion-dollar foster care system administered by the city of New York and served in the Santa Monica, Calif., City Manager’s Office.

A spokesman for Sununu, who last year became New Hampshire’s first Republican governor in 12 years, denied Griffin’s speculations about the reason for her having been passed over.

“As with any aspect of state government, it is important to include a variety of different viewpoints and allow interested individuals the opportunity to offer their time and talents to New Hampshire,” Sununu spokesman Ben Vihstadt said in an email on Thursday.

“Scott Myers, the individual our office nominated, came as a recommendation from the New Hampshire Municipal Association, a clear indication of his qualifications. The accusations leveled by Ms. Griffin are baseless and without merit.”

Griffin countered that the municipal association had only submitted another nominee after receiving pressure from the Governor’s Office.

“We are fiduciaries of an $8 billion system and politics simply cannot nor should not enter into the equation,” she said.

Similar cases to Griffin’s have played out in the recent past; in November, Ted Tichy, of Milan, N.H., expressed concern after the governor declined to renew his appointment as chairman of the New Hampshire Fish and Game Commission.

Tichy attributed the snub to his having signed a letter that criticized the governor’s decision to halt consideration of a Newbury, N.H., site for a possible new public boat launch on Lake Sunapee.

If confirmed, Myers would serve until September 2019, according to Executive Council minutes from the Dec. 20 meeting where the governor nominated him. The council’s next regularly scheduled meeting is Jan. 10.

Rob Wolfe can be reached at rwolfe@vnews.com or at 603-727-3242.




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