Franklin Mayor Merrifield among Sununu’s Cabinet picks

  • Franklin Mayor Ken Merrifield (right) speaks with Republican presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida during a walking tour of Franklin on Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015. ELIZABETH FRANTZ

Monitor staff
Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Republican Gov. Chris Sununu is tapping the mayor of Franklin to lead the state’s labor department and a former vice president at Sig Sauer to head the environmental services department.

Sununu’s office announced the names Tuesday evening, but didn’t release any information about why he chose Republican Mayor Ken Merrifield and retired U.S. Army Col. Peter Kujawski.

Neither nominee responded to a call for comment. Sununu will officially put their names forward at the Executive Council meeting Wednesday, and the five members will vote at a later date.

Merrifield has been mayor of Franklin for five terms, where he helped start a drug task force to try and tackle addiction early on and has advocated for the Northern Pass project. The city is the site of a public-private partnership meant to drive economic development through beautifying the downtown.

Merrifield works for the state’s department of health and human services as a business administrator. He is also in a band, the Night Rider, which has put on concert fundraisers to raise money for the struggling school district.

Kujawski is a Bedford businessman who currently works at View, Inc., which manufactures glass that changes tint depending on the sun’s glare to “harvest energy and optimize day light,” according to his resume.

Kujawski applied for the post in late March, and said in a letter written to Sununu he would focus on hazardous materials, sustainability and environmental protection at the agency. Before working at View, Inc., Kujawski was a Vice President at Sig Sauer for nearly a decade.

“The respect and care of the environment and everything natural associated with it was imbibed early in my life through the Boy Scouts,” he wrote in a March 22 letter to Sununu. “As an Eagle Scout, I exemplified the conduct and leadership for environmental concern.”

Several state environmental advocates said they were unfamiliar with Kujawski. If confirmed, he would replace Tom Burack, who announced his retirement last year. Merrifield would succeed Jim Craig, whose renomination the Council effectively killed last year.

(Allie Morris can be reached at 369-3307 or amorris@cmonitor.com.)