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UNH Law bans ex-chief justice

By DAVE SOLOMON and PAUL FEELY
New Hampshire Union Leader

March 23. 2015 8:30PM

Former New Hampshire Supreme Court Chief Justice John Broderick (BOB LaPREE/UNION LEADER FILE)



CONCORD — Former New Hampshire Chief Justice John T. Broderick was supposed to stay on as executive director at the Rudman Center at the UNH Law School through the end of May, but instead he has been banned from the center he helped found.

 

Broderick last week cited a lack of support from the University of New Hampshire as the reason behind his decision to resign as executive director of the public policy center, effective June 1.


Sources close to the situation say the resignation so irked UNH officials that they notified Broderick by letter on Friday that he was to vacate his office, turn in his security badge and avoid any appearances at upcoming Rudman Center events.

 

Broderick declined to confirm or deny the reports, but sources who had been working with him on upcoming events at the center say he considers himself banned from the building. Most of his belongings had been cleared out of his corner office overlooking Washington Street Monday, except for some wall photos of him being sworn in as a justice. His name and photo were removed from the UNH Law website as of Monday.

 

A UNH spokesperson confirmed that Broderick will not be in the office between now and June 1.

“He will remain on-call for any request from the law school for assistance with the transition,” Erika Mantz said.

 

Broderick announced his surprise resignation last week in a letter sent to members of the center’s board of advisers. He wrote that the university “needlessly forced” out a development director last year, and filled the vacancy with a part-time employee.

 

“They profess support, but don’t provide it. I know the difference,” Broderick wrote.

University officials on Friday criticized the letter, saying claims that the university hasn’t supported the Rudman Center are inaccurate.

 

“Everyone needs to play well together in the sand box, and one kid can’t have all the sand,” said John Hutson, former dean of the UNH School of Law from 2000 to 2011. “I was one of his biggest supporters when he was chosen as dean, but I have to say I am disappointed that John has taken this route. The university has been very, very, very generous to the Rudman Center, and any implication that it has been stymied or not been able to thrive is just wrong.”

 

The center had a $530,000 budget last year, including Broderick’s $153,000 salary. UNH declined to provide budgets from previous years.

Surprised by resignation

Tom Rath, former New Hampshire attorney general and founder of Rath, Young and Pignatelli, serves as a leadership fellow at the Rudman Center. He said he was surprised by the resignation.

 

“He (Broderick) has done a great job over there, and I was sorry to hear he decided to resign,” Rath said. “My biggest concern right now is the future of the Rudman Center. It’s a very valuable resource to New Hampshire.”

 

UNH President Mark Huddleston and UNH School of Law Dean Jordan Budd issued separate statements on Friday addressing Broderick’s concerns.

“I am deeply committed to UNH’s School of Law as an integral part of the state’s flagship public university,” Huddleston said. “My commitment extends to the public policy work of the Rudman Center as well as the law school’s center for intellectual property.”

 

Budd said Broderick had a larger staff than any other center director in the university, including a full-time administrative assistant, a part-time development director, and a part-time events coordinator.

 

“I thank John for his efforts in building the Rudman Center in a few short years into an extraordinary asset for the law school, university, and our state, but I am disappointed that he has chosen to turn to the media to air his grievances over an honest dispute about the allocation of scarce university resources,” said Budd, who will manage the day-to-day operations of the center for the time being.

 

“The Rudman Center has a budget this year of over half a million dollars in personnel, travel, and events-related expenditures, which has supported the most extensive public programming the law school has ever seen — 20 major events in the last nine months,” he continued.

 

“The center occupies a newly renovated office suite that the university converted from premier classroom space for the use of John and his staff. Additionally, the law school fully funds over 20 Rudman summer fellowships each year for students working in public service, as well as offering tuition waivers to incoming Rudman fellows. This level of support exceeds any other program in the law school. It is unfortunate that John views this commitment as insufficient to accommodate his continued leadership of the center.”

 

As chief justice of New Hampshire’s highest court from 2004 through 2010, Broderick was known as an aggressive advocate for funding of the state court system. He succeeded Hutson as dean of the law school from 2011 through 2014, when he left to launch the Rudman Center.

 

High-profile programs

The center is best-known for its high-profile speaker programs, which attracted such luminaries as former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and most recently Vice President Joe Biden, who on Feb. 25 came to Concord to accept the Warren B. Rudman Center Award for Distinguished Public Service.

 

Upcoming events include a March 31 lecture by Gen. Stanley McChrystal on “The Importance of National Service.”

The center, officially named the Warren B. Rudman Center for Justice, Leadership & Public Policy, was also known for its fully funded fellowships that groomed UNH law students for future positions of leadership in government and the public arena.

 

The center is named after Warren Rudman, who served in the U.S. Senate from 1980 through 1993 and died in 2012. Broderick helped raise more than $4 million to get the center up and running.

“I am genuinely disappointed in what is being said and especially by those who are saying it. It saddens me to see it,” he said on Monday. “None of their statements changes any of the facts that led to my departure from a center I helped found and dearly loved.”

 

In October 2013, UNH announced plans to use a $20 million gift from alumna and television producer Marcy Carsey for a new graduate school of public policy on the Durham campus, the Carsey School for Public Policy.

 

dsolomon@unionleader.com; pfeely@unionleader.com


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