NH House Leaders Blast Liquor Commission for Posting Jobs for Positions Held by Personnel Testifying Before House Special Committee

CONCORD – House Speaker William O’Brien (R-Mont Vernon) and Rep. Lynne Ober (R-Hudson), Chair of the Special House Committee to Evaluate the New Hampshire State Liquor Commission, today offered the following comments in response to the revelation that the New Hampshire Liquor Commission last week posted job listings for Director of Enforcement and Director of Administration while both positions are currently filled. Current Director of Enforcement, Eddie Edwards, has recently testified before the Special House Committee to Evaluate the NH State Liquor Commission and has been critical of the operations of the commission and the commissioners during the ongoing investigation in to several questionable matters.

House Speaker William O’Brien

“If a government agency were trying to look like they were attempting to engage in a cover up, they could not do a better job than the current efforts of the Liquor Commission.  Posting a job of an employee who is assisting a Legislative committee would be viewed as a great way of buying silence and limiting the value of testimony.  This is a wholly inappropriate act, and if the Commissioners have even a shred of common sense, they will pull back from this plan.  As a result, they have further blemished their agency, and undermined their own credibility while having possibly put the state in a position of facing a lawsuit that could cost taxpayers thousands.  This is one more bright light indication as to why it was an enormous mistake to take oversight responsibility away from the Legislature and Executive Council.”

Rep. Lynne Ober

“When a public employee comes to the Legislature to address a concern about his or her agency we would expect that he not be immediately fired.  The idea of punishing a whistleblower for sharing evidence of possible criminal activity is completely contrary to open, accountable government.  This may be tantamount to witness tampering and possibly violates employment statues and whistleblower protection laws. While Mr. Edwards is an at-will employee, having his career threatened simply because he cooperated with lawmakers in helping to address legitimate concerns is appalling.”