Gov. Sununu hopes to fill top corrections post before Wrenn departs

  • Corrections Commissioner William Wrenn will resign effective Nov. 9, 2017, after serving 12 years in the position.

Monitor staff
Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Gov. Chris Sununu hopes to have a new corrections commissioner confirmed before William Wrenn leaves the top post in early November.

Wrenn’s last day on the job is Nov. 9. At that time, Assistant Commissioner Helen Hanks will assume Wrenn’s duties and responsibilities on an interim basis if a new commissioner has not yet been chosen. Sununu’s nominee must be confirmed by the five-member Executive Council.

“We intend to appoint someone before Commissioner Wrenn retires,” Sununu spokesman Benjamin Vihstadt said in a statement to the Monitor. “In the event there is a vacancy, Helen Hanks would step in as acting commissioner as dictated by law.”

Sununu’s office has not given any hints about a prospective nominee. Vihstadt said previously that Sununu’s “primary focus in filling any vacancy is finding the candidate who will do the best job for the people of New Hampshire.”

The powers and duties of the commissioner are established by state law. The commissioner, who reports to the governor, oversees a $251 million two-year budget, as well as day-to-day operations at the state’s three prisons, probation offices and transitional housing units.

Wrenn was appointed to the position in 2005, prompting his retirement from the Hampton Police Department after 31 years. He has since served three four-year terms as corrections commissioner. He announced in August that he would not be seeking a fourth term.

“When I accepted this appointment, I made a commitment to do my best to set a proper direction for the Agency and to help to instill a sense of pride in the work we do,” Wrenn wrote in his resignation letter to Sununu in mid-August. “I believe our work record reflects that we have raised the bar by always demanding that we strive for excellence. It is now time for me to pass on the baton to the next person to continue building upon all that we have accomplished.”

Through corrections spokesman Jeff Lyons, Wrenn has declined interview requests from the Monitor. Lyons said Wrenn is not interested in doing any sit-down interviews reflecting on his time as commissioner. Wrenn has not said publicly why he is leaving or what his plans are after November.

Wrenn earned $125,554 in salary in 2016, and $99,042 in pension from the New Hampshire Retirement System, according to public records.

(Alyssa Dandrea can be reached at 369-3319, adandrea@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @_ADandrea.)