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Manchester aldermen confirm Rice as city solicitor

New Hampshire Union Leader

November 22. 2017 1:00AM
Former U.S. Attorney Emily Gray Rice listens to a reporter's question after she was introduced as the interim city solicitor at City Hall in Manchester on July 10. (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER)

MANCHESTER — Former U.S. Attorney Emily Gray Rice can officially drop the ‘interim’ portion of her job title as city solicitor, after aldermen voted unanimously to approve her for the position on a more permanent basis Tuesday night.

Rice was named Manchester’s interim city solicitor back in July, 10 days after veteran solicitor Tom Clark abruptly retired as New Hampshire Attorney General Gordon MacDonald detailed his office’s review of the decisions made by one of Clark’s prosecutors in many cases involving domestic assault or abuse.

Last week Mayor Ted Gatsas asked the Board of Mayor and Aldermen to support his nomination of Rice as city solicitor.

“Attorney Rice has done an excellent job transitioning the department since the retirement of the former department head, and will be an invaluable asset to the city going forward,” said Gatsas in his nomination of Rice for the post.

Approval was delayed a week, after Alderman-at-Large Dan O’Neil asked for board members to meet with Rice, and questioned why the board was being asked to approve the nomination the same night it was presented to them, rather than having the nomination lay over two weeks as most nominations do.

Alderman Barbara Shaw of Ward 9 suggested a compromise, letting the nomination sit a week until Tuesday night’s session.

“I want to thank Alderman Shaw for the compromise,” said O’Neil. “I met with Emily the next day, probably for 45 minutes, and it was a fabulous conversation. We talked about a lot of different things.”

Alderman Bill Shea of Ward 7 made a motion to approve the nomination Tuesday night, seconded by Shaw. The motion passed unanimously, though without a vote from Alderman Ron Ludwig of Ward 2, who was absent from the meeting.

Rice will receive an annual salary of $152,629.25 for the job.

Clark’s retirement announcement came June 30, a day after MacDonald detailed his office’s review of decisions made by one of Clark’s prosecutors in numerous cases involving domestic assault or abuse.

MacDonald faulted numerous actions and decisions by the prosecutor, Andrea Muller, whose salary is partially funded by a state grant.

The review found Muller dropped some charges unnecessarily, she did not follow through when charges were conditionally dropped and her case files lacked necessary paperwork.

Rice has enjoyed a long career as a trial lawyer and public servant, most recently serving as the 56th U.S. Attorney for the District of New Hampshire.

Rice began her career at the Attorney General’s Office, where she became a senior assistant attorney general and bureau chief. Across more than two decades in private practice, Rice co-chaired the Governor’s Judicial Selection Commission, led nonprofit boards, and participated in court and bar committees. She was a member of the adjunct faculty at the UNH School of Law, where she taught pre-trial advocacy and trial advocacy.

Rice earned her B.A. and M.A. degrees at Boston University, and is a graduate of the Northeastern University School of Law.

Manchester Local and County Government

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