County Attorney Heed announces resignation
KEENE - Less than two months after being re-elected as Cheshire County Attorney, Peter Heed has announced he is retiring from public office to work for a private firm.
Heed, 62, plans to join Abramson, Brown and Dugan, a private Manchester law practice known for representing plaintiffs' in medical malpractice cases.
"It's pretty exciting. It's going to be a change for me," Heed said.
Heed, who lives with his wife in Westmoreland, which is just outside of Keene, said the plan is for the law firm to establish a Keene office that Heed would run.
"They are a highly regarded plaintiff litigation firm that focuses primarily on medical malpractice and other serious cases," Heed said. "They're terrific attorneys. It will be an honor to be associated with them and work on a new office over here."
Heed told the Cheshire County delegation about his retirement in a letter Friday.
"We were counting on him being sworn in on the second of January. Mainly it's a big surprise," said John Pratt, chairman of the Cheshire County Commission.
According to a new state law enacted in 2011, the county delegation is charged with hiring Heed's replacement. In the past, a county attorney who left before his or her term was up would have been replaced by a candidate chosen by the state court, Pratt said.
"The commissioner's point of view is he's been a very good county attorney, and we're going to miss him," Pratt said.
Heed said he didn't plan to retire from public office this soon, but when the opportunity came up he wanted to take it.
"I'm able to retire at this point from public service. It's meant a huge amount to me to be a prosecutor and county attorney," Heed said. "It's been wonderful, and I've really enjoyed it."
Heed started his career in homicide prosecution for the N.H. Attorney General's Office in the 1970s. In 1980, he moved to the Keene area to enter private practice. After almost 20 years in the private sector, Heed ran for Cheshire County Attorney in 1999 and won. He served from 2000 to 2003, when he became N.H. attorney general. Heed resigned as attorney general in 2004 and has served as Cheshire County Attorney since 2006.
Pratt said the county delegation plans to advertise for the position and go through a hiring process to fill the position.
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