New Website Created Without Partners’ Input

Former Chamber President James A. Jajuga, former Creative Haverhill Director David Zoffolli, Mayor James J. Fiorentini and School Committeeman and Paul A. Magliocchetti at the opening of Creative Haverhill's holiday shop.

Photo: Former Chamber President James A. Jajuga, former Creative Haverhill Director David Zoffolli, Mayor James J. Fiorentini and School Committeeman and Paul A. Magliocchetti at the opening of Creative Haverhill's holiday shop.

Two Creative Haverhill partners say the Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce has shunned them for more than a year.

As first reported by WHAV yesterday, “Discover Haverhill” is now the name of the site at creativehaverhill.org. The site replaces one secretly bid by the city and paid for by taxpayers. Until 2013, Creative Haverhill had been under the direction of a committee composed of the chamber, city of Haverhill and WHAV. Previously seated representatives from the city and WHAV report they have not been invited to any meetings even though the state requires partners to meet “on a regular and ongoing basis.”

Creative Haverhill was originally formed through a state Adams Grant and federal Community Development Block Grant money provided to the city. Because of the federal block grant money, the original website was subject to state bid law, but only a minimum of companies were secretly invited to bid, according to city purchasing records. Despite the stated Haverhill focus, the contract was sent out of state and reportedly cost $11,000.

The new site no longer provides a “Find a Creative Business” directory. Businesses now excluded are advertising agencies, radio stations, publishers, photographers and others.

The state reduced funding for the venture from $40,000 to $10,000 last year, citing conflicting applications from Creative Haverhill and Team Haverhill, former Director David Zoffolli has said. Additionally, the chamber’s board of directors turned away city funding last year.

The original Creative Haverhill website featured a method of finding creative businesses.

The original Creative Haverhill website featured a method of finding creative businesses.