Magliocchetti Digs Into Ethics Commission Rulings

Recent decisions by the State Ethics Commission mean a third of the city council and a third of the school committee are prevented from taking certain actions.

Haverhill School Committeemen Paul A. Magliocchetti, one of two members prevented from participating in a discussion last week about class rankings at Haverhill High School, wants both the ethics commission and school committee to revisit the matter. Magliocchetti and fellow member Shaun Toohey learned they were unable to even be present during a discussion of high school student rankings because they have children at the high school.

“(The school administration) is saying class rank is irrelevant. Yet, everyone in the administration is saying it’s not correct. How do you reconcile that? I have a call in to the attorney I spoke with. If (the administration is) correct, there is no bearing, then I have no conflict,” Magliocchetti told WHAV. He said he received the initial opinion from the commission’s “lawyer of the day,” Norah K. Mallam.

Magliocchetti said “the issue is weighting of grades of AP (advanced placement) vs. Early College that ultimately impact class rank directly.” In his daughter’s case, he explained, it “impacts which college she gets into and which scholarship she receives.” He said a second matter involves a question about whether advanced placement students may also participate in the Early College program. Early College students receive 27 college credits, effectively skipping two years of college. If advanced placement students can’t participate, their families must pay extra for those two years.

He said he asked the ethics commission about potential conflicts by two-thirds of the school committee. Magliocchetti explained he and Toohey have children in the classical academy who must take advanced placement courses, Maura Ryan-Ciardiello is Toohey’s daughter’s aunt and Joseph J. Bevilacqua was a member of the Northern Essex Community College board of trustees when the Early College plan was developed.

Magliocchetti will appear on WHAV’s Open Mike Show Monday night to further explain the issues.

Tuesday night, City Councilors Melinda E. Barrett, Thomas J. Sullivan and Michael S. McGonagle similarly found they could not vote on a parking ordinance because they have downtown businesses. Haverhill City Solicitor William D. Cox Jr. said Wednesday morning he spoke with the commission about city councilors with downtown businesses. The state lawyer opined the three councilors have a conflict.

In the case of the school committee, a separate decision from school department legal counsel ruled members are already prohibited from taking action regarding how courses are weighted. The state’s Education Reform Act of 1993 removed that authority from the school committee and placed it exclusively in the hands of school administrators, said Catherine L. Lyons, a lawyer at Lyons & Rogers, Rockland. Lyons made the ruling in place of the city solicitor, since Cox is a trustee at Northern Essex Community College.

One thought on “Magliocchetti Digs Into Ethics Commission Rulings

  1. Very interesting. Too bad this wasn’t the case when councilor Ryan voted on police contracts years ago while all the time he was a lobbyist for the police union. If you have a conflict, you cant be involved. We have had three speakers of the house convicted of corruption. We just had the parole dept. scandal which could claim another. That’s why these rules are in place.