Gov. Chris Sununu’s top drug policy advisor, Marty Boldin, resigned Wednesday following an investigation by the attorney general’s office into an unspecified personnel issue.
State officials with the attorney general’s office and the governor’s office are staying mum on most of the details around his resignation.
“As with all personnel matters, details of the review are confidential,” Sununu Chief of Staff Jayne Millerick said in a statement released by the governor’s office Wednesday evening.
“The opioid epidemic is the number one issue facing our state and Governor Sununu remains focused on helping those impacted by substance use disorder.”
Responding to a series of follow-up questions from NHPR on Thursday, Millerick did confirm that Boldin resigned voluntarily and that, before stepping down, his salary was drawn from the Governor’s Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention, Treatment and Recovery. That same pool of money is used to fund many other addiction support services across the state.
In her statement to NHPR on Thursday, Millerick said the governor’s office placed Boldin on leave a day after learning about an email in which a state health employee raised concerns about Boldin’s interactions with providers in the drug prevention field.
According to a copy of that email obtained and independently verified by NHPR, a Department of Health and Human Services staffer wrote to several top officials on March 22 to report an incident in which Boldin allegedly “became angry” after someone who volunteered to help with the Governor’s Recovery Friendly Workplace Initiative did not return his calls on nights and weekends.
In the same email, the DHHS staffer reported that the individual on the receiving end of Boldin’s calls worked with her supervisor to establish “a safety plan concerning Marty,” and that several other organizations were “developing their own safety plans either based on current experience with Marty or fears for future experiences with him.”
Millerick told NHPR the attorney general’s office first made the governor’s office aware of that email “late afternoon on April 26.”
“The following day, we placed Mr. Boldin on paid administrative leave and asked the Attorney General’s office to conduct a review,” Millerick said.
Millerick said her office received word of two other potential issues involving Boldin before April 26, one of them also involving Boldin’s interactions with the Governor’s Recovery Friendly Workplace Initiative.
“While these were never corroborated or substantiated, they were brought to our attention and therefore I proactively addressed them,” Millerick said.
When first inquiring into the concerns raised about Boldin, NHPR asked Sununu’s office on May 4 whether the office received any formal or informal complaints about him either before or since he assumed his role with the governor’s office. In response, Millerick told NHPR the office received “one call from a non-profit organization to inform us that she had heard that students on the Governor’s Youth Council may have been being asked to work on Council activities during school hours.”
“I immediately spoke with Mr. Boldin about this inquiry and it is my understanding that efforts were made to ensure that Council work would not occur during school hours,” Millerick said on May 4.
At the time, the office did not mention any concerns related to the Governor’s Recovery Friendly Workplace Program. It was not until several weeks later that the governor himself acknowledged a complaint stemming from Boldin’s role in that program.
“The only concern that I’ve been made aware of was, as we move forward in one of our programs, Marty was having folks volunteer a little bit to help with our Recovery Friendly Workplaces, and there were some issues just in terms of the hours of that those folks that were participating in that program,” Sununu said during a press conference on May 16.
Moving forward, Sununu’s office did not say whether they plan to replace Boldin.
Asked whether the outcome of the attorney general’s review changed the governor’s previous assessment that Boldin was “a great asset” in the state’s efforts to address the opioid crisis, Millerick said, “As a person in long-term recovery, Marty had first-hand knowledge and offered a personal perspective on one of the most important issues facing our state.”