What is New Hampshire’s Executive Council?

by Jane Cormier


Executive Council Chambers

How many out there know about the function of our New Hampshire Executive Council?  I am finding very few understand or even know about the EC here in our state.  We need to change that!

The NH Executive Council is a vestige of the Colonia era, offering a “firewall” to ensure an autocracy within the Executive branch is mitigated if not outright thwarted.  Working with the Governor within the Executive branch, the Executive Council is a unique and open form of state government.

The Executive Council is a five-member council tasked with the authority and responsibility for the administrative affairs of New Hampshire as defined by our New Hampshire Constitution, the New Hampshire statutes, and the advisory opinions of the New Hampshire Supreme Court and Attorney General.

Executive Council duties include conducting all major executive branch business with the approval of all state departments and agencies, of both receipt and expenditures of state and federal funds, budgetary transfers within the department, all personal service contracts with a minimum value of $10,000 and all contracts with a minimum value of $25,000.  The Executive Council approves the spending of a significant portion of the approximately 5.2 billion dollars that is appropriated annually by the legislature.  (That is A LOT of tax dollars!)

Executive Councilors are entrusted to serve as watchdogs of the state treasury to ensure state departments do not spend more than was authorized by the legislature, nor allocate funds for items or services which the legislature has not sanctioned.

In addition, the Executive Council approves the appointments of Judges, Commissioners, Notary Public, Justice of Peace, Commissioners of Deeds and hears all pardon requests.  The EC makes sure that those appointed to the Executive Branch of state government, whether Commissioners, Department heads or citizen members of the myriad of regulatory boards, are all responsible to the citizens of New Hampshire and not to special interest groups.

There are other responsibilities, but it is easy to see how vital this council is for New Hampshire.  Our Executive Councilors are the constituent’s eyes and ears in Concord to ensure the Executive Branch of state government is fiscally conservative and above reproach.  What could be more important than that?

If you would like more information on the history of the Executive Council, you can visit www.nh.gov/council/history.

(Disclosure:  Jane Cormier has announced plans to run for the Executive Council District 4.)

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