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Ed chief Edelblut confirmed for full term

New Hampshire Union Leader

March 22. 2017 11:05AM
Nominee for education commissioner Frank Edelblut reads a statement at a public hearing earlier this year at the State House in Concord. (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER)

CONCORD — The Executive Council voted 3-2 on Wednesday to confirm Frank Edelblut for a full four-year term as commissioner of the New Hampshire Department of Education.

The council previously, along the same party-line vote, confirmed the former state representative from Wilton to complete the term of former Commissioner Virginia Barry.

Councilors Andru Volinsky of Concord and Chris Pappas of Manchester, both Democrats, opposed the nomination.

Volinsky said he was concerned that Edelblut, during an earlier public hearing on the nomination, did not disclose that he has made an anonymous contribution to the Croydon School Board's legal defense fund in a fight with the state on using public funds to send a small number of students to a private Montessori school.

Edelblut later confirmed, after refusing to answer a Valley News reporter’s inquiries about a potential donation, that he donated $1,000.

“It should not have required an express request by an executive councilor to reveal that,” Volinsky said.

The council engaged in scant discussion on the nomination. Councilor Russell Prescott, R-Kingston, called Edelblut a man of integrity who would do what’s in the best interest of students, the DOE, and the state and would not “run off on his own agenda.”

The council also confirmed Ann Lane of Durham and Kate Cassady of Littleton to sit on the state Board of Education.

In other business Wednesday, Gov. Chris Sununu, R-Newfields, officially nominated Gordon J. MacDonald to succeed New Hampshire Attorney General Joseph Foster, whose term ends March 31. Upon confirmation, MacDonald’s salary would be $128,259.

The Executive Council will hold a public hearing on the nomination Tuesday at 2:30 p.m. in council chambers at the State House.

The governor put forth several nominations to fill vacancies and expired terms on various departments, boards and commissions. They included:

• Former state GOP chairman Stephen Duprey of Concord, Matthew Benson of Concord, Jeffrey Hayes of Intervale, F. Daniel Henderson of Hancock, Jeremy Hitchcock of Manchester, and Catherine Provencher of Merrimack to the New Hampshire Business Finance Authority board. Benson, Hayes and Henderson are reappointments.

• Sununu nominated Dana Call of Windham to succeed Gerard Murphy of Concord as director of accounting services for the Department of Administrative Services.

• Mark C. Armaganian of Concord to succeed James Wilson as director of enforcement and licensing for the state Liquor Commission.

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