Evenly Divided School Committee Can’t Agree on President

Haverhill School Committee President Gail M. Sullivan is one of the panelists. (WHAV News photograph.)

If successful, Gail M. Sullivan would become the first freshman school committee member to take the presidency of the board.

School Committee Vice President Maura Ryan Ciardiello.

School Committee Vice President Maura Ryan Ciardiello.

Gridlock prevented the election of a school committee president Thursday night as the same teams involved in the contentious seating of a replacement member found they also couldn’t agree on a leader.

An unbroken 3 to3 tie vote Thursday night for committee president nominees pitted freshman Gail M. Sullivan against two-year member and current vice president Maura L. Ryan-Ciardiello. The impasse led to unanimous votes to postpone the annual election of officers until its next scheduled meeting Feb. 25. Mayor James J. Fiorentini, committee chairman, was absent and a tie-breaking vote could not be cast.

Election of a freshman as school committee president would be unprecedented, according to public records.

By voice vote, Sullivan was backed by Committeemen Sven A. Amirian and Paul A. Magliocchetti, while current President Scott W. Wood Jr. and returning Committeeman Shaun P. Toohey supported Ryan-Ciardiello.

Sullivan was nominated by Magliocchetti and seconded by Amirian, who participated by remote teleconference. Ryan-Ciardiello was nominated by Toohey and seconded by herself. Magliocchetti, Sullivan and Amirian also opposed the seating of Toohey during a vote of the mayor, city council and school committee Feb. 2. Toohey, brother-in-law of Ryan-Ciardiello, took the seat by a single vote.

Last month, at its first meeting of the year, the school committee agreed to postpone its election of new officers until the seat vacated by now-City Councilor Joseph J. Bevilacqua was filled for the remainder of his committee term, which expires at the end of 2017. Toohey, who lost his re-election bid in November, was appointed back on the committee Feb. 2 in an 8 to 7 vote by a joint panel of remaining committee members, city councilors and the mayor.

6 thoughts on “Evenly Divided School Committee Can’t Agree on President

  1. Let’s call it what it is.. Magliochetti has started this mess, he’s keeping it going and doesn’t care what the costs are.
    This isn’t about the kids for Paul, it’s personal.
    The school committee can’t run itself, how are they spoke to run a district???
    Private school is worth it when it comes to this leadership or should I say lack of….

    • I watched the meeting, the only one I saw shoe aby leadership was the current President Scott Wood. On numerous occsasions, he asked members to be kind to one another and try to work together for the sake of the district. There should be a rule against a freshmen member being President. Whether she has worked in education is irrelevant, does she know the policies of the district, the rules, any history? The Mayor is he was smart would refuse to cast a tie breaking vote and make the members figure out a way to work together. That would be in the best interest of the district. Make them keep it the same until they learn to work together. If he picks a “side” it will continue to be a divided committee who doesn’t work for children. Maybe school choice to another district is best after all.

  2. If the Mayor gets to cast the tie-breaker, it’s going to go to Ryan-Ciardiello. It’s going to be interesting to see how little the School Committee can get done this year if it’s evenly divided by people who hate each other.

  3. Funny how the Ryan clan is intent on keeping some of it’s power by bitterly clinging onto the hope that people still like them. It is time for new positive energetic blood that cares more about the city than themselves.