Wrenn Voted In As Commissioner

By Scott E. Kinney, Atlantic News Staff Writer

Atlantic News, Friday, December 16, 2005

[The following article is courtesy of Atlantic News]

Chief William Wrenn at the podium at the Ashworth Hotel.

HAMPTON -- The New Hampshire prisons have a new corrections commissioner.

Hampton Police Chief William Wrenn was voted into the position last Wednesday in a 3-2 vote by the Executive Council.

There was some question prior to Wednesday's Executive Council meeting whether Wrenn had enough votes to confirm his nomination. Councilors Debora Pignatelli and Peter Spaulding both stated publicly before the vote that they would support Wrenn, while Councilors Ray Burton and Ray Wieczorek said they would not, leaving Ruth Griffin as the swing vote.

Wrenn replaces former Corrections Department Commissioner Steve Curry, who served in the position for 16 months.

Curry's relationship with the union was strained during his tenure as commissioner. The union took two votes of no confidence in Curry and had filed two unfair labor practices with the Public Employee Labor Relations Board.

Wrenn said his first order of business will be to meet with corrections employees and introduce himself.

"I'm the new guy on the block so I have to establish a connection with the employees," he said.

Gov. John Lynch said during Wrenn's nomination that Wrenn has the managerial experience to get corrections employees to work together and will bring stability to a department that has seen eight commissioners come and go during the last 10 years.

Wrenn will officially retire from the police department at the end of December. He has served as chief since early 1995, working his way up through the ranks of the department since 1974.

"I can't think of anybody better to fill that position," said Hampton Town Manager James Barrington. "We hate to see Bill leave the department, but this is certainly a gain for the state. We know he will do well."

Wrenn said he looks forward to the challenge of the new job, but acknowledges it will be difficult to leave a job that he has done for 31-1/2 years.

"This has been the only job in my career and now I'm moving to my second career," said Wrenn. "I'll miss it. This whole opportunity is a great one, but it is certainly bittersweet. This town has been good to me. There's a certain sadness with me."