CFO’s departure a shock for legislative delegation

  • ** ADVANCE FOR SUNDAY JUNE 3 ** State Republican Party chairman Fergus Cullen speaks at the state's annual Republican party meeting in Manchester, N.H., Jan. 27, 2007. Cullen hoped his victory would help Republicans move ahead in the state but instead he's fending off a challenge from within his own party. (AP Photo/Jim Cole) Jim Cole

The Conway Daily Sun
Published: 3/3/2021 6:29:58 PM

Carroll County’s chief financial officer, who came aboard in September, is no longer working for the county, commissioners announced this week, which appeared to stun members of the legislative delegation Monday.

Fergus Cullen of Dover started work Sept. 21. He came to Carroll County after having served as chief financial officer of St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Dover for four years. He also served as a Dover city councilor since October and was the New Hampshire Republican Party Chairman from 2007-09.

The delegation met Monday to work on the 2021 county budget, which totals about $35 million. The delegation, consisting of 15 state representatives, approves budgets that the commissioners manage with help from department heads. The county government includes a prosecutor’s office, a jail, a nursing home and the registry of deeds.

The topic of Cullen came up when Terry McCarthy (R-Conway), commissioners’ chair, was to give an update on the 2020 audit being done by Batchelder Associates of Keene.

The 2019 audit, done by Melanson, with offices in Massachusetts, Maine and New Hampshire, was presented in January. The 2019 audit was already late when Cullen arrived.

Rep. Steve Woodcock (D-Conway) mentioned that at a recent meeting, Cullen said the county was on track with the 2020 audit.

“Mr. Cullen is no longer the chief financial officer for the county,” replied McCarthy. “So he’s not here today to answer questions. We just want to thank him for his efforts and service to the county for the past five months. And if you have any questions, they’ll have to be directed to the commissioners or the finance department.”

Cullen had said in previous meetings that the 2020 audit was expected to be done in June.

Woodcock appeared shocked and asked what happened to Cullen.

“Did he resign? Did he leave? Did he go somewhere else?” pressed Woodcock.

McCarthy replied, “I’m sorry, I can’t make any further comments at this time.”

Reached by phone Monday, Cullen said he had no comment.

At the meeting, Rep. Jerry Knirk (D-Freedom) said he was “baffled” by the news and wondered about the secrecy.

“We struggled hard to have a CFO, and he’s done a great job and then suddenly disappears,” said Knirk. “We have the delegation currently tasked with performing the work of the budget, and suddenly we don’t have a CFO. And what’s the secret of why he’s not with us today?”

Delegation chairman Lino Avellani (R-Wakefield) said employment is a matter for the commissioners.

Rep. Tom Buco (D-Conway) asked who was going to take over Cullen’s duties.

Treasurer Joe Costello said he and other members of the financial department are splitting Cullen’s duties among themselves.

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