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Long-time Concord city councilors to step down after state confirmations

  • Steve Shurtleff speaks to the full House after his nomination to be Speaker of the House at the State House on Tuesday, December 5, 2018. GEOFF FORESTER

  • City Councilor Dan St. Hilaire shakes hands with Steve Duprey in the new lobby of the Merrimack County Court after the tour on Tuesday, October 9, 2018. GEOFF FORESTER



Monitor staff
Thursday, December 06, 2018

With two city councilors confirmed to statewide roles this week, a special election is in Concord’s future.

At-Large Councilor Steve Shurtleff secured the House speaker role Wednesday. That same day, Ward 10 Councilor Daniel St. Hilaire was confirmed to a judge position. Both have said they would step down from their councilor roles if they secured their nominations.

Shurtleff earlier said while he doesn’t believe there would be a conflict of interest, he wants to avoid the appearance of one. He said Thursday that his resignation is effective immediately, meaning he won’t be attending Monday’s city council meeting.

“It really is very bittersweet,” he said. “I’m very happy to be named speaker, and to the best of my knowledge, I’m the first speaker of the House from Penacook, so that’s something.

“I’ve really enjoyed my 11 years on city council. Some of the things we’ve worked on have made a difference, not just to the city, but a difference to me personally,” he said, speaking about some of the issues they’ve tackled.

In St. Hilaire’s case, stepping down is required. Rule 38 of the state’s Code of Judicial Conduct prohibits judges in both district or superior court from holding elected positions.

St. Hilaire said he plans to submit his resignation prior to Monday’s meeting and will also not be at the meeting.

“I think the right thing to do is to have that vacancy on the December agenda, so councilors can take action if need be, rather than them having to wait until January,” he said.

St. Hilaire’s confirmation took place at the Wednesday executive council meeting. Executive Councilor David Wheeler made the motion, seconded by Joseph Kenney.

Democrats Andru Volinsky and Chris Pappas opposed the nomination, according to the secretary of state’s office.

St. Hilaire has previously held high-profile positions in the state. He served as an executive councilor from 2011-13 and as the Merrimack County attorney from 2003-09. He currently works as the chief operating officer for the state’s liquor commission.

Shurtleff defeated House Republican Leader Dick Hinch of Merrimack for the speaker role by a 237-152 vote Wednesday.

A Vietnam War veteran and retired deputy U.S. Marshal, Shurtleff was first elected to the House in 2004.

Both he and St. Hilaire have served more than 10 years on the city council.