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Officials announced abrupt changes Wednesday to the state’s Sex Offender Registry Board, which makes key determinations on the risks that convicted offenders pose to the public.

Anne Conners, an investigator at the state Department of Early Education and Care, is replacing Saundra Edwards as chairwoman of the registry board, the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security said in a statement.

Conners, who has served in the Early Education Department since 1986, will join the registry board in the coming weeks, the statement said.

Edwards’s last day was on Wednesday.

The statement did not indicate why Edwards was replaced, and attempts to reach her for comment were unsuccessful.

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Terrel Harris, a spokesman for the Public Safety Office, declined to comment beyond the statement and said his agency’s leader, Secretary Andrea Cabral, could not discuss the personnel matter.

Officials did not say what Conners’s salary will be as chairwoman. Edwards earned $115,226.75 last year, according to state payroll records.

Also Wednesday, Cabral’s office said that Kevin Hayden, the registry board’s general counsel, has been tapped as the panel’s interim executive director. Hayden’s predecessor, Jeanne Holmes, was placed on paid administrative leave on Wednesday.

Harris declined to say why Holmes was placed on leave, and she could not be reached for comment. Holmes earned $105,520.01 in 2013, records show.

Conners will hire a permanent executive director, the statement said.

Cabral praised Conners in Wednesday’s statement but did not mention Edwards or Holmes.

“Anne knows and understands the complexities of the criminal justice system, as well as the policies and regulations related to” the registry board, Cabral said.

“In the course of investigating a number of high-profile cases, Anne has worked closely with the [registry board], local law enforcement agencies, DCF, and the district attorneys’ offices for many years. She will hit the ground running.”

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Conners said in the statement that she looks forward to chairing the board and that she “will work diligently to continue their mission of educating and protecting the people of the Commonwealth.”


John R. Ellement of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.