Franklin Mayor Ken Merrifield entertains questions at his confirmation hearing Wednesday. (Dave Solomon/Union Leader)
Merrifield confirmed as Labor commissioner
CONCORD — The Executive Council has confirmed Franklin Mayor Ken Merrifield as the next commissioner of the New Hampshire Department of Labor.
The council voted 4-1 Wednesday to confirm Gov. Chris Sununu’s nominee. Councilor Chris Pappas, D-Manchester, was the lone dissenter. He said he was concerned that Merrifield was intending to fulfill his duties as mayor and as commissioner.
Sununu, R-Newfields, said Merrifield would be giving the labor post 100 percent of his attention.
“He did confirm that he’d be happy to serve as the commissioner, and be sworn in, upon his resignation as mayor,” Sununu said.
Merrifield, who succeeds James Craig of Manchester, will serve a term until Aug. 30, 2019, at a salary of $109,525. Merrifield, a former vice chairman of the Republican State Committee, is currently a business administrator in the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services.
Councilor Joe Kenney said Merrifield, like any new commissioner, would have a learning curve. He said the nominee had met with various labor groups, and that Craig administered a very functional department.
“Ken Merrifield is very conscientious and has proven to be a great public servant, both for the state and for the city of Franklin,” Kenney said.
In other business at the Executive Council, governor and council accepted the resignation of 6th Circuit Court Judge Edward M. Gordon as a full-time justice, effective July 1. “It is my desire to continue to contribute to the state in some capacity,” he wrote in his letter to Sununu. Gordon, a former state senator and attorney from Bristol, said at this time he plans to sit as a judge in senior status. He was first appointed to the bench in 2005.
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Sununu submitted several nominations, including Andrew Cline of Bedford nominated to the State Board of Education, to succeed Thomas Raffio of Bow, for a District 4 term until Jan. 31, 2021; photographer and educator Gary Sampson of Hopkinton nominated to be New Hampshire Artist Laureate, to succeed Rodney Miller, to Feb. 18, 2018; Sarah Stewart of Manchester nominated to the State Council on the Arts, to succeed Emily Birch of Canaan; Barry Nilson of Amherst to succeed Yvonne Vissing of Chester on the Juvenile Parole Board; Jacqueline Abikoff of Gilford and Tim Turmell of Stratham to the Board of Licensing for Alcohol and Other Drug Use Professionals; and William Boyd of Merrimack and Timothy Acerno of Epping to the Volunteer New Hampshire Board of Directors.