I transitioned my position as Hillsborough County Attorney nine months ago to the current office holder. I placed my competent staff into his hands, each of whom understood my prosecutorial priorities. I publicly made it clear nine months prior to leaving office that the office needed more resources than it was getting to handle increases due to the opioid crisis and the shift of work from District Courts due to Felonies First. With full knowledge of my public statements, the current County Attorney actively sought the responsibility of the office and, in winning it, the responsibility has been his for nine months. His statements attempting to shift the blame for where he finds himself now are a contradiction to his statements while taking office that the office was not on the brink.
There are some reported decisions by the current County Attorney that I would not have made. As reported by the Union Leader and complained about by the Merrimack Police Chief, the County Attorney insisting on taking misdemeanor cases because they involved animal cruelty. Just sending an email with a demand is not how I operated when discussing which agency should handle something. Then on June 26, he was unswayed by the Chief’s personal appeal that misdemeanors are not the proper role of the County Attorney’s office. I agree with the Chief. There are too many felonies to spend the Assistant County Attorneys’ time on misdemeanors.
The Union Leader reported that the current County Attorney would only accept the return of a qualified experienced legal secretary if that legal secretary apologized for some slight. Instead of an apology he got a complaint that his office was a hostile work environment. A more mature leader would not have insisted on something so petty.
When I started my first term in 2011, I corrected what I perceived to be problems left by my predecessor. I presume that Attorney Lafrance did the same when she began her two year term in 2013 because when I returned in 2015 some things had changed. I changed back those policies which I thought did not work and kept those I thought worked.
Each policy and prosecutorial decision a County Attorney makes establishes his ownership. It is expected that processes he perceives as poor would be corrected soon after taking office. The current County Attorney has been making the decisions for nine months so the situation he finds himself in now is one of his own making.
Recent Statements Regarding the Hillsborough County Attorney’s Office:
"Hillsborough County Attorney Michael Conlon: I'm a quick learner." Written by Mark Hayward. Appeared in New Hampshire Union Leader on December 22, 2018.
"Merrimack police chief pushes back over animal cruelty cases." Written by Kimberly Houghton. Appeared in Union Leader Correspondent on August 25, 2019.
"Hostile work environment described at Hillsborough County Attorney's office." Written by Mark Hayward. Appeared in New Hampshire Union Leader on May 5, 2019.