Haverhill School Committee Chooses New Business Manager

The Haverhill School Committee chose a Worcester School Committee member Thursday as the school district’s new business manager.

Following final interviews based on “mock budget” presentations during Thursday night’s meeting, the committee voted to enter into contract negotiations with Brian O’Connell, Worcester school committeeman and, currently, chief financial officer of Killingly, Conn., public schools. He is a past president and life member of the Massachusetts Association of School Committees, a former attorney and business manager for several school districts, according to committee President Scott W. Wood Jr., who motioned for O’Connell’s selection. O’Connell told the committee, based on earlier presentations during the meeting, he found “a very close rapport” with opinions of students and others in overall school system operations that are “very crucial in budgeting.”

“So as you highlight tonight, one, that students do have sound advice for the school committee. They certainly have sound advice for the budget process. And, second, you are dealing with issues that may seem a bit off the pail for education, but they’re absolutely vital in terms of making sure your students are well prepared in a frame of mind to learn. Those are very much at the heart of budget processes. This really ties in very well tonight and I thank you for letting me hear the early presentations because it does resonate so well with what I would have recommended to you; and you’re ahead of me in this regard, that you need to look at in terms of clear… and effective budget planning,” O”Connell said.

Pending contract negotiations, O’Connell would succeed interim Business Manager Leighton O’Connor.

An initial vote of 4-2 was then made unanimous for O’Connell over another finalist, former Methuen and Lincoln-Sudbury schools Business Manager Glenn Fratto. The two early dissenting votes were from Committeewoman Susan Danehy and Mayor James J. Fiorentini. Committeeman Joseph J. Bevilacqua was absent.