Mayoral Aide Van Dam Takes Job as Retirement Administrator

David S. Van Dam regularly appears before the Haverhill City Council. (WHAV News photograph.)

David S. Van Dam, chief of staff to Mayor James J. Fiorentini, has accepted a new job beginning next month.

Van Dam won’t have far to go though. He’ll be moving to the third floor of City Hall as retirement administrator and executive secretary to the Haverhill Retirement Board. He explained the functions of his new post.

“It’s really overseeing, administrating the retirement office functions—an office currently with three people in it that currently have separate functions related to retirement. Dealing with retirees, dealing with people that are going to retire and payments to retirees,” he said.

He succeeds Sheryl C. Trezise, who has retired. She held the job two years, replacing long-time administrator Kathleen E. Gallant. Van Dam, who previously was a finalist for several town manager jobs, said the retirement post is the right fit.

“It was an unusual and unexpected opportunity for me, so that’s why I certainly applied for it.”

Van Dam, who will be paid between will be paid between $90,000 and $115,000, was hired by the Retirement Board itself. Its members include Chairman William J. Klueber, city Finance Director Charles Benevento, attorney James P. Cleary III, Inspectional Services Director Richard MacDonald and retired Deputy Fire Chief Lewis F. Poore Jr. The job is one of few in City Hall not appointed by the mayor.

The city’s retirement system includes 887 people paying into it and 1,074 retirees collecting pensions. It invests about $180 million and falls short—known as “unfunded liability”—about $166 million. Projections show the city expects to cover the pension shortfall by 2032.

Van Dam has served as Fiorentini’s chief of staff since 2011 and previously served as a selectman in his hometown of Swampscott. He thanked Fiorentini for the opportunity to serve the corner office. “I’ve been fortunate to work with the mayor over six years as chief of staff. I’ve learned a lot from the mayor,” he said.

Van Dam said he hopes his successor in the mayor’s office will be hired before he takes his new job, allowing for a “seamless transition.” The job of chief of staff is being advertised at a salary of between $55,605 and $68,830.

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