Hassan withdraws SEC nominees Odell, Merrill; nominates Honigberg to chair PUC

CONCORD — Gov. Maggie Hassan Tuesday announced she has withdrawn the names of two controversial nominees to the state panel that approves or rejects the siting of the large energy projects in the state.


Hassan had nominated retiring state Sen. Bob Odell, a Lempster Republican, as a public member of the Site Evaluation Committee, and state Rep. Amanda Merrill, a Durham Democrat and former state senator, as the alternate.


But several executive councilors, who must confirm gubernatorial nominations before they become official, raised questions because the two officials are part of the Legislature that revamped the Site Evaluation Committee to include more public members.


Also criticizing the nominations were New Hampshire Wind Watch and state Sen. Jeanie Forrester, R-Meredith, who sponsored the bill to revamp the committee.


Hassan delayed a vote on the nominations in early October and then today, withdrew them.


“I believe Bob Odell and Amanda Merrill would have both served the people of New Hampshire fairly and well on the Site Evaluation Commision, but we must make sure that this body can move forward with its important work. I thank them and hope they will be willing to continue to serve in the future,” Hassan said in a statement today.


The governor announced she will nominate Patricia Weathersby of Rye to the SEC’s slot requiring an attorney and Roger Hawk of Concord to the public member position. According to the governor’s office, Weathersby, who also owns family property in Hart’s Location, has her own law firm in Rye, where she works with commercial clients in a variety of areas including zoning, planning, contracts, business formation and real estate.


Hawk currently owns his own planning company, Hawk Planning Resources, LLC, the governor’s office said.

Hassan also announced she will nominate Martin Honigberg to chair the Public Utilities Commission. He has been an PUC commissioner since last year and will serve in the chairman’s slot vacated by Amy Ignatius, who is now a Superior Court judge.


Honigberg is a veteran attorney, who most recently practiced at Sulloway and Hollis in Concord.

Author: John DiStaso

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