What exactly is the Executive Council for?

We have been critical here before about the way the governor and Executive Council conduct their business — or, rather, our business. It’s possible, we realize, that the councilors show more curiosity when discussing issues in private than they do in open session. Indeed, they’d almost have to. In their public deliberations — if we may call them deliberations — the councilors often conduct themselves as though they were the five New Hampshire residents least likely ever to die of curiosity.

On that basis, Councilors Ruth Griffin, David Wheeler and Ray Wieczorek should all outlive Methuselah. At the June 23 meeting, they diligently rubber-stamped the governor’s request that they accept the resignation of Attorney General Peter Heed. Heed had asked the governor and council to defer the vote until an investigation had been completed on his alleged misconduct at a party following a conference at the Mt. Washington Hotel.

Heed, of course, had handed the governor the instrument of his execution by resigning in haste after he been informed of allegations of “inappropriate touching” at the party. But the council didn’t have to carry out the sentence. They could have waited for the evidence, if any, of the attorney general’s misconduct. Instead, they effectively cashiered the state’s top law enforcement officer and made a mockery of Sullivan County Attorney Mark Hathaway’s ongoing investigation.

But here were re encouraging signs of independence – or, at the least, signs of inquisitive minds — in the council chambers, on the part of Councilors Raymond Burton and Peter Spaulding, who voted against accepting the resignation, at least at the time. Two heads are better than one, it is often said. Unfortunately, they were not a majority.

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