Confusion, Mystery Shrouding Fire Chief Search Process

Haverhill Mayor James J. Fiorentini during the Open Mike Show.

Haverhill Mayor James J. Fiorentini during a recent WHAV Open Mike Show.

Confusion and mystery is shrouding the process to replace late Fire Chief Richard B. Borden.

While Deputy Fire Chief William F. Laliberty currently holds the title of “acting” chief, he may have to give up command of the department to an “interim” chief and will help recommend a “permanent” chief. Haverhill Mayor James J. Fiorentini told WHAV the next interim chief might come from outside the department.

“The acting fire chief will give me an outside, independent assessment of the department and help me choose the best possible new chief to take our city and our fire department forward,” Fiorentini said.

As WHAV reported Tuesday, Laliberty is not prohibited from applying for the permanent position despite published reports to the contrary, indicating he would have to remove himself from the search.

“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,” Laliberty told WHAV  Tuesday. 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 With an expected Thursday announcement of an interim chief, it remains unclear whether Laliberty will apply for the permanent job, said Fiorentini.

“I don’t have any idea, but everybody who wants to apply is encouraged to apply. There are no front-runners, there’s no back runners. Everybody will be given a fair and equal shot,” Fiorentini said.

WHAV has placed a followup call to Deputy Laliberty but he was not immediately available for comment.

2 thoughts on “Confusion, Mystery Shrouding Fire Chief Search Process

  1. The NEW interim chief was the Mayor’s pick and that is his prerogative. Any chief executive wants someone they can somewhat control. If the Mayor wants to know what to do with the Fire Dept., all he has to do is to read the consultants’ study…it’s all there, everything that needs to be done to bring the Dept. up to today’s levels of readiness and performance. He paid for it, why not use it ? Ohhhhh, because it would cost some money that’s why. The report is very in depth and lays out everything needed to be done.

  2. It’s pretty clear what skills the new chief must possess. It must be someone who will be a Fiorentini loyalist and lap dog. Someone who does what he’s told, when he’ told and specializes in keeping his mouth shut and not talking back.

    I’m very curious what it means to take the fire department forward. Does that mean hiring a candidate to make sure 30 fireboys don’t get caught the next time they conspire to scam taxpayers out of $55,000.00? Does that mean hiring someone who will run a sick day scam that doesn’t result in the mayor actually having to do his job? Does that mean actually knowing why fire boys are covering for a brother hack while he’s spending time in NH jalis? Does that mean hiring someone who will know when a Fake (previously known as a Jake) who is driving a fire truck every day knows if that person actually has a valid drivers license?