Concord – This morning, the New Hampshire Democratic Party sent the letter below seeking information about the timeline and process undertaken by the Local Government Center’s hiring of Republican Senate President Peter Bragdon as Executive Director. The Union Leader reported, that “Bragdon's selection was announced prior to the boards of the LGC and its respective arms - HealthTrust and Property and Liability Trust - voting to approve it.” [Union Leader, 8/13/2013] An Attorney for the Bureau of Securities Regulation, said the search was conducted “in secret.” [Portsmouth Herald, 8/13/2013]
“Serious concerns were raised across the state about both the substance and process of the LGC hiring of Senate President Peter Bragdon,” said New Hampshire Democratic Party Communications Director Harrell Kirstein. “With an elected official taking a $180,000 job controlling a publicly funded body with a checkered history, the people of New Hampshire deserve to know if the hiring process was skewed in Bragdon’s favor, if other candidates were considered, and when this process began. Almost every single issue and or piece of legislation that comes before the State Senate impacts the LGC and its affiliated organizations, and Bragdon and the LGC have created an enormous conflict of interest that leads to a host of ethical questions.”
Additionally Bragdon told the Concord Monitor, that he has been in discussions with the LGC “less than a month ago” adding “It kind of came out of the blue.” But on July 19th, using his powers as Senate President Bragdon appointed fellow Republican Senator Jeanie Forrester to a committee reviewing “potential changes to the state law that regulates the LGC.” Yesterday, the LGC Chairman said that Bragdon’s hiring aimed to “allow us to have a better relationship with our regulator. That’s what we’re focused on.” [Concord Monitor, 8/14/2013]
“Had Bragdon begun talking to the LGC about the highly paid Executive Director position when he appointed Forrester to the committee reviewing changes to state law regulating the LGC?” asked Kirstein. “The secretive nature of his hiring raises questions about every decision Bragdon has made benefiting the LGC, especially when it comes to oversight and regulation of the LGC.”
In 2004, the New Hampshire Supreme Court held that the LGC was “a ‘public body” subject to the Right-to-know law.” Further, just a few months ago the LCG stated one of it’s top priorities was “greater transparency” and “to change the perception that the organization is combative and secretive.”
The right-to-know request filed with the New Hampshire Local Government Center is copied below.
New Hampshire Democratic Party
105 North State Street
August 14, 2013
New Hampshire Local Government Center
25 Triangle Park Drive
Concord, NH 03301
Dear New Hampshire Local Government Center,
Pursuant to the New Hampshire’s Right-to-know law RSA 91-A, I request access to and copies of all documents and correspondences, both electronic and print, from the past 90 days, relating to following:
· The hiring process for the New Hampshire Local Government Center's Executive Director. Including but not limited to any public or private listings or advertising of the listings, the dates of those listing, and any internal or external communication related to the hiring process.
· Any internal discussion or communication related the duties and/or recruitment of Executive Director of the New Hampshire Local Government Center. Including but not limited to their role as a lobbyist with the State of New Hampshire, their expected weekly hourly commitment, desired qualifications, and involvement with any subsidiaries of the LGC.
· Any communication, correspondence or other documents from Peter Bragdon or other individuals seeking information about the Executive Director position with the New Hampshire Local Government Center.
· Any information supplied by Peter Bragdon relating to his qualifications for the position.
· Any communication between the LGC and the Senate on relating to the legislative study committee appointed to review potential changes to the state law that regulates the LGC.
These documents and correspondences should include, but are not limited to, any letters, emails, reports, phone records and logs, memos, and meeting minutes vis-a-vis the aforementioned matter.
I agree to pay reasonable duplication fees for the processing of this request.
If my request is denied in whole or part, I ask that you justify all deletions by reference to specific exemptions of the act.
Thank you for your assistance.
New Hampshire Democratic Party