EC to debate Commissioner Edelblut’s Croydon donation before voting on 4-year appointment

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Commissioner Frank Edelblut’s undisclosed, $1,000 donation to the Croydon School Board’s legal fund will be a central topic at the next Executive Council meeting, reported NH1 News. That’s when the Council is expected to vote on his 4-year appointment. 

The Valley News reported last week that Commissioner Edelblut gave $1,000 dollars to the Croydon School Board’s legal defense fund. The school district is suing the state to be allowed to pay tuition to a private Montessori school that several children in the district attend.

From NH1 News:

Last week Edelblut declined to respond to numerous questions from the Valley News whether he was an unnamed donor to the Croydon School Board’s legal defense fund. But on Wednesday the commissioner disclosed the contribution to reporters. Edelblut released an email question he received from Democratic executive councilor Andru Volinsky, and his response to all five councilors.

“The contribution was made anonymously,” Edelblut wrote in the email. “I prefer the focus to stay on the cause and not draw attention to myself.”

Edelblut, who was nominated by Sununu early in January, was never asked about, and never mentioned, the contribution during his eight-hour confirmation hearing later that month.

Executive Councilor Andru Volinksy has told NH1 News that he is concerned at the lack of transparency and disclosure:

“If you’re asking if he did anything wrong in terms of a crime, I don’t think this is a crime… But if you want a sense of transparency in government, which is something that is very important, you raise this.

“…I was troubled by the fact that Mr. Edelblut did not respond to this request for disclosure and then reading his response, I’m equally concerned because he said the reason for anonymity was that he did not want to interfere with the cause.

“Think about it. He was running for governor. And the private schools was part of his platform. So he was already in the middle of this, number one. And number two, he’s describing the diversion of public funds to private schools as a cause for him. That is contrary to his testimony that he was merely an implementer, and it doesn’t speak well for him being candid during his confirmation process.”

The Council confirmed him on February 15 as interim Education Commissioner, as former Commissioner Virginia Barry stepped down before her term officially expired. The Executive Council must vote again on his full, 4-year appointment, which is expected on Wednesday, March 22. There will be no public hearing on the appointment.

Read the full article here.