The story has been updated to reflect the reaction of Stanley W. Colten.
Stanley W. Colten will continue to represent the city on Haverhill Community Television’s (HCTV) board of directors after all.
Attorney Michael J. Hart (pictured above), representing HCTV, said today Colten will continue to serve until 2017. Hart, a former city councilor, said he has read both the old and new bylaws of the corporation and determined Colten’s was appointed last year to a three-year term.
“On behalf of the board of directors and the executive director, I apologize for the way the most recent events concerning the appointment of Mr. Stanley Colten have evolved into an unnecessary misunderstanding between your office, Mr. Colten, and the corporation,” Hart wrote in a letter to Mayor James J. Fiorentini.
Colten learned the news from WHAV.
“I think they should apologize to the citizens of Haverhill, apologize to the city council and go kiss the ring of the mayor. I give the mayor a lot of credit for standing up to them. I’ll serve them truthfully, honestly and I’m, still going to get the answers to the questions,” Colten said.
Hart’s letter came in response to a letter from Fiorentini, dated Dec. 8. “We will take whatever steps are necessary to make certain that Mr. Colten remains on the board,” the mayor wrote at the time to HCTV’s board of directors. Hart did not specifically address the mayor’s threat of legal action, but said, “There never was a set aside appointment for the mayor, nor were there set aside appointments for the library, school department, or NECC.”
Instead, Hart wrote, “The board actually treated your appointment letter for Mr. Colten, dated November 13, 2013, as a recommendation, which was properly referred to the nominating committee.” He said Colten was then elected to a three-year term last February. A month earlier, he added, HCTV amended its bylaws to prevent the possibility of recommendations from the mayor and other groups. Hart did not explain why his findings differed from those of HCTV board President Carol Verny who wrote Dec. 1, “We thank (Colten) for his service and consider his term expired.”
“The reason for the amendment was not, in any way, related to Mr. Colten’s appointment. What motivated the Board was the fact that it had become more and more difficult to have the designated organizations put forth a recommendation in a timely manner, and many of the representative seats were not being filled. The mayor’s representative seat had remained vacant for five years prior to Mr. Colten’s appointment.”
Hart said, “(Colten) will be invited to attend the next board meeting.”
In a live appearance last night on WHAV’s Open Mike Show, Colten said his ouster came after he asked certain questions be placed on the board’s November agenda.
“I asked for a list of committees and who was on them and I asked for an income statement breakdown on employee’s compensation and what package they get, and I’d like explained certain questions on the bylaws.”
“I think it is a slap in the face to the mayor. I think it is a slap in the face to the city council. I think it’s a slap in the face to the citizens of Haverhill,” Colten added.
Meanwhile, Haverhill City Councilor Melinda Barrett has placed an item on tonight’s city council agenda. She told WHAV Monday said the city should have a representative sit on the group’s board. The city has an interest, she said, considering the television group receives more than $800,000 as a result of the city’s contract with Comcast.