School Committee Splits on Vice President Selection

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

School Committee President Gail Sullivan

A purported attempt to heal the division of the School Committee by dividing leadership of the body between its two factions failed Thursday night due to a tie vote, but members will try again in two weeks.

As is customary at the first meeting of the new year, the School Committee voted on its leadership team, unanimously transferring the board’s presidency to member Gail Sullivan from Maura Ryan-Ciardiello.

Member Scott Wood nominated Sullivan, and Paul Magliocchetti seconded. No other names were put into nomination.

When it came time to nominate the committee’s vice president, Sullivan nominated Sven Amirian, while Ryan-Ciardiello nominated Wood.

Following a recognizable pattern, Ryan-Ciardiello backed Wood, and Sullivan and Magliocchetti voted for Amirian. Mayor James J. Fiorentini threw his support behind Wood, creating a 3-3 tie.

Wood said he was disappointed by the result.

“I nominated and supported Ms. Sullivan for president. I felt it was time for the committee to stop being so divided and work together. I am disappointed but not surprised in her and the others’ votes that left the vice president as a tie,” Wood said.

For the past year, the School Committee has experienced a sharp division, with members Ryan-Ciardiello, Wood and Shaun Toohey voting as a bloc. Amirian and Sullivan are almost always on the other side.

Last year, it was the vote for committee president that ended in a 3-3 tie, with Sullivan picking up votes from Amirian and Magliocchetti and Ryan-Ciardiello having the support of Toohey and Wood. An absent Mayor James Fiorentini returned two weeks later to break the tie, in Ryan-Ciardiello’s favor.

This time, it was Toohey who was absent

“Clearly a message was sent that they don’t intend to bridge any gaps or work together. I look forward to the next meeting where we will have a full committee to break the tie and move forward from this issue,” Wood said.

If past form holds true, and the same members are nominated again, Wood will likely become the board’s vice president when the School Committee meets next on Jan. 26.


9 thoughts on “School Committee Splits on Vice President Selection

  1. Reason #246,194 political Party’s suck.

    Meanwhile, the destruction of education upon our youth in this city, this state, and this country continues. Or, maybe that is the intent all along for some. Keep the masses dumb, fat, and the illusion of happiness, then there’s no reason for them to rebel/revolt upon those who govern.

  2. Somebody want to get Scott Wood some cheese to go with his whine? He sounds more like a third grader than a school committee member. May be he and Amirian can fight out at recess when the teacher’s not looking.