City Posts School Committee ‘Help Wanted’ Sign, Meets Tuesday

City Councilor Melinda E. Barrett.

City Councilor Melinda E. Barrett.

If you want to serve as a member of the school committee, send in your resume to Haverhill City Clerk Linda L. Koutoulas now.

Next Tuesday’s planned joint session of the mayor, city council and school committee has been recast as a “workshop,” designed to define the process of filling the school committee seat being vacated by new Councilor Joseph J. Bevilacqua.

Even as councilors voted 9 to 0 to set the “timetable and procedures” to fill the open school committee seat, additional councilors went on record as saying they will support the next highest vote-getter Shaun P. Toohey. Councilor Melinda E. Barrett, who asked for a suspension of the rules to have the discussion last night, was among several councilors to argue the joint meeting was not adequately publicized for timely submission of resumes. Councilor William J. Macek, who second Barrett’s motion, proposed the workshop session to produce a “tweaked” agreement on a selection process for what would be the council’s first time helping fill a school committee vacancy.

City Councilor William J. Macek.

City Councilor William J. Macek.

“Our charter does not give specifics. It just says that ‘a joint meeting of the council and the school committee will fill any vacancies on the school committee.’ And that’s what we have to work from. So the mayor has been working to come up with policy and procedure, in a sense, rules and regulations and that’s what we’re trying to narrow down,” Macek said. “We need a little bit more time for this thing to settle out so we do have time to get the public aware of the process that we’re going through and we’ll get it done.”

Councilors Andy Vargas and Colin F. LePage called for publicizing the proposed recommendations, including one to either allow resume submissions “any time prior to the joint meeting,” or “a member of the joint committee may nominate someone who has not submitted a resume.” LePage said he “knows of others interested” beside so-called front runners.

“This is a little different in how it’s written up in the rules. I haven’t had the chance myself to read through them, I know city solicitors look at them. But, again, we seem to be coming up with some of our own rules,” LePage said. “And I think they should be proposed and have a meeting, at 6 p.m. that…I’m not sure, Mr. President… I say open to the public and how you, or if the mayor is chairing that, how that is to proceed before our meeting. And if it spills a little later, so be it, then it would be up to you and the mayor in how that’s done.”

Haverhill City Councilor Thomas J. Sullivan.

Haverhill City Councilor Thomas J. Sullivan.

Councilor Thomas J. Sullivan opposed submitting resumes “right up to the moment the meeting starts.” He told his colleagues he saw “no reason to delay” the process. He noted, to date, only former school committee members Shaun P. Toohey and Susan Danehy have submitted a resume to the city clerk. Attorney Joseph C. Edwards, former chairman of the Northern Essex Community College board of trustees and former chairman of Essex Agricultural and Technical Institute, said this morning he plans to submit his resume.

“If there are other candidates out there, the names have been out there for weeks. Why aren’t they submitting their resumes? Don’t tell me it’s because they don’t know that’s the process. All they have to do is make a phone call to the city clerk’s office or to any one of us and we’ll tell them what the process is. So if these people are serious, I urge them to come out (tomorrow) and drop off (your) resume to the city clerk so we can move this process forward and end this. This is a lot of ado about nothing,” Sullivan said.

Sullivan and Councilor Michael S. McGonagle said they support tradition and will vote for Toohey.

Throughout the meeting, councilors were critical of Bevilacqua’s handling of his resignation, while the freshman councilor argued the council should have been better prepared. Council President John A. Michitson, in a rare departure from protocol, chastised Bevilacqua for not stepping down sooner. “That is the pledge you made when this election started,” he said.

Bevilacqua steps down from his school committee seat effective Friday, following its first meeting of 2016 Thursday night.

One thought on “City Posts School Committee ‘Help Wanted’ Sign, Meets Tuesday

  1. “The Rules” should be that if a potential candidate for public office already holds an elected office that it be mandatory he/she resign from the existing position prior to the election. Or else just don’t run for another elected position.

    Joe, you keeping the school committee position to fall back on in the event you weren’t elected as councilor was self-serving and benefited the citizens of Haverhill in no way. It was a selfish move on your part….just look at all the time and effort that is being wasted to straighten it out.

    But congratulations Joe, you’re risen to the level of ex-Lawrence Mayor Willie Lantigua who wanted to continue being a state rep after being elected as mayor. As far as self-serving government hacks goes Joe…that’s good company.