Laliberty Temporarily Replaces Late Fire Chief Borden

Fire Chief Richard B. Borden died in May, 2015, at age 56.

Late Fire Chief Richard B. Borden.

Haverhill’s deputy fire chief is taking a temporary role as “acting” fire chief as the city begins a search for a permanent successor to late Fire Chief Richard B. Borden.

Deputy Fire Chief William F. Laliberty told WHAV “I’m just in this position running day-to-day operations until they find an interim chief to run the fire department, as they start a search for a permanent fire chief.” David Van Dam, chief of staff to Mayor James J. Fiorentini, said Laliberty is not prohibited from seeking the position.

“Acting Chief Laliberty can apply for the position but that is certainly up to him. He is not excluded from it,” Van Dam said.

Borden, 56, passed away suddenly in May at his Rosemary Avenue home. Denise McClanahan, city human resources director, told WHAV the non-civil service fire chief position was posted “a week ago.” Advertising for the job, which carries a salary range of $94,017 to $135,000 per year with a proposed three-year contract, was posted online at Massachusetts Municipal Association’s website as well as on

According to the job description, “Candidate should show leadership ability, effective communication and public relations, problem solving, identifying and taking corrective measures for conditions which are potential fire or public safety hazards. Candidate should have the ability to plan, assign, direct and review the work of subordinates and direct large scale operations of personnel and equipment under emergency conditions; provide leadership; instill loyalty and the desire for improved performance in both uniformed and civilian employees; work cooperatively with other town and state officials; maintain good public relations.”

The city said preference will be given to candidates who have previously served as fire chief, deputy fire chief or an “equivalent position.”

While the search does not have a set deadline, Van Dam said interest in the position has so far been “encouraging.”

“We haven’t seen detailed applicants’ qualifications at the moment. Human resources is the central point of collection for that. So once we get a lot of applicants we’ll start going through those and then move forward from there,” Van Dam said.

An April, 2011, audit of the fire department by Matrix Consulting suggested changes to the fire chief’s position, recommending, “The fire chief position (be) removed from civil service or should be shifted to an open competitive statewide pool under civil service.” The recommendation effectively rubber-stamped Fiorentini’s 2010 recommendation the city council approve a home rule petition to the state legislature to remove job protections.

Van Dam said an interim fire chief will be named “in the next couple days.” He declined to say whether or not the appointment would come from within the department.