Recent retirements will leave notable holes

At this season of graduations, when many think about moving on to new adventures, New Hampshire has been affected by the retirements of officials who have contributed significantly to the state for a long time.The director of charitable trusts is an assistant attorney general, charged by statute to oversee not-for-profits. As such, that position has important authority to influence the institutions he oversees and to set public policy regarding the nonprofit sector. It is one of the most sensitive positions in state government, and one that could cause significant damage if administered without great care.New Hampshire is lucky that for the last 14 years Michael S. DeLucia has been in that job. A professor before he went to law school, DeLucia was a commercial and securities lawyer and had experience representing large not-for-profit entities as a partner at Sheehan Phinney Bass + Green in Manchester before being appointed director by Gov. Stephen Merrill.He succeeded the late William Cullimore in that office, and has had the pleasure of working with the talented register of charitable trusts, Terry Knowles, as Cullimore did. The state is lucky that Knowles continues in that role, to provide needed continuity and institutional memory.Perhaps it was in the area of educating the public in the appropriate roles and responsibilities of board members, and participating in seminars and other opportunities to spread the word regarding responsible actions by not-for-profits that DeLucia made his greatest contribution.Mike DeLucia is moving on to become one of the trustees of the Agnes M. Lindsay Trust, a significant New Hampshire charity, where he can continue to contribute from the other side of the table.It is important that Governor Lynch replace him quickly, and carefully, since the occupant of the office of director of charitable trusts has much to do at all times, and has to do it in a way that is sensitive to the needs both of not-for-profits and the public.Well done, Director DeLucia!*****Also retiring this spring have been federal court Magistrate James Muirhead and Superior Court Judge Kathleen McGuire. Muirhead, formerly a partner at the McLane, Graf, Raulerson & Middleton law firm, was a well-known litigator prior to accepting the federal magistrate’s position.The magistrate is a judicial officer of the federal court who handles many matters involved in the administration of cases and hears certain cases himself. Known as a no-nonsense jurist, Muirhead reportedly had little sympathy for unprepared attorneys. A graduate of Cornell University and its law school, he has been a longtime resident of Manchester’s North End, where he and his wife Kathy have made substantial contributions to the community.Kathy McGuire, a Manchester native, was a member of the UNH class of 1970, graduating with Class President William Gardner, now New Hampshire secretary of state, Hillsborough County Superior Court Clerk John Safford and this writer, among many others.After going to law school at Boston College, she clerked for New Hampshire Supreme Court Justice Charles Douglas and then joined the Attorney General’s Office in the criminal division, which she later led.From there, she was appointed to the Superior Court where she handled many notable cases, among them the Briggs murder trial in Manchester and the JUA insurance fund case. Also notable among her cases were those involving state agencies and rulings, as she was presiding judge in the Merrimack County Superior Court. McGuire is too young to retire, but claims she wants to play more golf and work as a mediator.New Hampshire courts and its justice system have lost the services of two smart and experienced judges with the retirement of Jim Muirhead and Kathy McGuire.*****Finally, toward the end of the legislative session, two longtime state senators, Sheila Roberge of Bedford and Robert Letourneau of Londonderry, both Republicans, announced that they would not be seeking re-election.Roberge is the “dean” of the Senate, its longest-serving member. Long a Republican activist, she served as assistant to Gov. Meldrim Thomson.She was married to the late Banking Commissioner Roland Roberge. After they moved from Manchester to Bedford, she ran for the Senate and has been a fixture there. Ever gracious, she stuck to conservative Republican principles and had a special interest in animal rights. Upon announcing her retirement, colleagues from both parties praised her hard work and collegial style.Letourneau, another conservative Republican, has had a special interest in improvements to Interstate 93 and the issues of his part of the state. Well liked by his colleagues, he has been friendly and receptive to those doing business with the Legislature. He demonstrated the tension between public and private life when he said, announcing his retirement, that it was time to focus on “matters at home.”With the retirement of Roberge and Letourneau, conservative Republicans and their allies will be looking carefully at the candidates for their seats, and Democrats will be evaluating their chances to capture them.
Brad Cook is a shareholder in the Manchester law firm of Sheehan Phinney Bass + Green and heads its government relations and estate planning groups. He also serves as secretary of the Business and Industry Association of New Hampshire.