Manchester has a new city solicitor and for the first time in decades, an outsider has been appointed to the post, as Mayor Ted Gatsas’ nomination of Emily Gray Rice to fill the position was ratified by a phone poll of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen. Yesterday morning, shortly before nine, Gatsas announced he’d named Rice as Interim City Solicitor pending confirmation by the board. He said he’d named her as the interim and ordered the phone poll to avoid having to wait for her nomination and confirmation at the board’s meeting on July 18th, citing the immediate need to address the now infamous problems that led Police Chief Nick Willard to ask Attorney General Gordon MacDonald to investigate the office’s handling of domestic violence cases. MacDonald’s findings caused City Solicitor Thomas Clark to abruptly announce his retirement. Assistant City Solicitor Thomas Arnold followed suit just days later.
In making the announcement, Gatsas said Rice had impeccable credentials and the prosecutorial and management experience needed to reform the Office of the City Solicitor.
Gatsas said Rice is highly-regarded within the state’s legal community. She’s served as the U S Attorney for New Hampshire. Before that, she worked in the Office of the New Hampshire Attorney General, where she became a Senior Assistant Attorney General and Bureau Chief. She is a former Chair of the New Hampshire Bar Foundation, former Co-Chair of the New Hampshire Judicial Selection Committee and former Co-Chair of the New Hampshire Campaign for Legal Services. She spent two decades in private practice, including working at the Manchester office of Bernstein Shur in the firm’s Labor and Employment Practice Group and at the Concord firm of Orr and Reno in their Business Law Practice Group.
On the face of it, it looks like Gatsas has enlisted a real pro to take the helm as city solicitor. He told Girard at Large there was none more qualified for the position in an interview yesterday, saying she was the right person at the right time for the job. Gatsas asserted that Rice will revisit past domestic violence cases and ensure that justice is served wherever possible.
The phone poll, which will have to be ratified at the Board of Mayor and Aldermen’s next meeting, was twelve in favor, with none opposed. Ward Twelve Alderman Keith Hirschmann abstained and at-Large Alderman Joe Kelly Levasseur did not respond to the poll.
News from our own backyard continues after this.
Yesterday’s candidate filings in Manchester weren’t as many as expected, but there were some surprises.
- Incumbents Rich Girard and Joe Kelly Levasseur filed for reelection to their at-Large seats on the Board of School Committee and Board of Aldermen.
- In Ward One, Christopher Stewart filed for alderman.
- In Ward Two, Welfare Commissioner Paul Martineau filed for alderman and David Scannell filed for school board.
- In Ward Three, Alderman Patrick Long filed for reelection.
In Ward Four, Alderman Christopher Herbert filed for reelection. Steve Mathieu, whom Herbert defeated two years ago, also filed for alderman. That’s a bit of a surprise given the scuttlebutt about former Alderman Jim Roy looking to make a comeback. Leslie Want filed for reelection to the school board.
- In Ward Six, Ryan Van Orden of North Eastgate Way filed for alderman. Not sure whose radar he was on, if anybody’s. Good for him!
- In Ward Seven, Ross Terrio filed for reelection to the school board.
- In Ward Eight, John Cataldo of Roysan Street filed for alderman. We errantly reported he would run in Ward Six in yesterday’s news read. Our bad.
- In Ward Nine, the rumble between Alderman Barbara Shaw and former Fire Chief Jim Burkush is now official as both filed yesterday. School Board Vice-Chair Arthur Beaudry also filed for reelection.
In Ward Ten, Alderman Bill Barry filed for reelection. In a surprise move, Manchester City Republican Chairman and former State Rep. Tammy Simmons also filed for the seat. John Avard filed for a sixth term on the school board.
- In Ward Eleven, a rematch of last election’s race between Alderman Normand Gamache and former Alderman and School Board Member Russ Ouellette was made official as both filed yesterday.
- In Ward Twelve, Alderman Keith Hirschmann filed for reelection and newcomer Hassan Essa, of five seventy nine Kimball Street Apartment Six, filed to challenge him.
Keep it tuned to Girard at Large on the air and on line for the latest updates on filings as they roll in between now and the twenty first of July. Better yet, get yourself down to City Hall, if you’re interested in change, and file yourself. We’ll make you famous in the news read if you do!
The town of Hooksett has announced its portable recycling trailer will be off the road for an undetermined amount of time. The trailer is in need of major repairs. Recycling can still be brought to the Recycling and Transfer Station Monday through Friday from 7:00 to 3 : 30 and Saturday’s from 8 to 1. Call 6 6 9 5 1 9 8 if you have any questions.
A year-long project to upgrade the power grid in Manchester will help meet increasing demand and enhance reliability, according to a press release issued by Eversouce. As part of the project, Eversource apprentices have been working with crews in Hooksett since the beginning of April to replace older poles, cross arms, insulators and conductors with stronger, more durable structures and equipment. In addition to upgrading, the utility installed two new radio-controlled switches on the system. Smart switches require no human action, which allows the company’s state-of-the-art Integrated Electric Operation Center to restore power to customers almost instantly when an outage occurs. These upgrades, a million dollar investment in reliability for hundreds of homes and businesses, are expected to be complete by the end of this year. The company says that over the past decade, it has completed similar upgrades to fourteen other circuits in the Queen City and plans to upgrade six more in the near future.
That’s NEWS from our own backyard! Girard at Large hour ___ is next!