March 16, 2016

Hassan Hassled Over Drug Czar Delay

As Granite Staters tuned into to watch Tuesday’s election results, a NH1 anchor reminded them that the state had gone 44 – now 45 – days without a drug czar to manage the state’s opioid crisis, after Hassan’s handpicked choice, Jack Wozmak, resigned amid criticism on February 1st.

Hassan’s office stayed quiet about the process for hiring a new czar for weeks after Wozmak’s departure, only deeming to give status updates when pressed by the press.

On March 1st, in response to a query from WMUR, they were acting “as quickly as possible”:

Hassan’s office said she was interviewing people to fill the drug czar position as quickly as possible.

When WMUR followed up on March 7th they were “aggressively interviewing candidates” – but releasing no names:

And while there appears to be a consensus in Concord to take several steps to combat the heroin crisis, some are questioning why the governor has yet to hire a new drug czar to oversee the state’s response.

On that front, the governor’s office said it is aggressively interviewing candidates to find the right person for the important job.

And on March 9th, facing questions from Executive Councilor Chris Sununu, she was “very close”:

Gov. Maggie Hassan says she’s very close to hiring a new “drug czar” to coordinate the state’s efforts to battle an ever-growing opioid addiction crisis.

Her comments came in response to questioning from Republican Executive Councilor Chris Sununu, a gubernatorial candidate, who said it’s taking too long to fill such a critical position.

Yet another week has gone by without word from Hassan.

It’s also notable that Hassan has actually had more than 45 days to look for Wozmak’s replacement; he announced his resignation on January 15 – 62 days ago.