UPDATE: McGonagle Earns Haverhill Council Seat Vacated by Vargas, Newcomer Rosa Joins School Committee

Michael S. McGonagle, left, and Thomas J. Sullivan pose with supporters at a polling place Tuesday. (Jay Saulnier photograph for WHAV News.)

City Council President John A. Michitson awaits poll results last night in Haverhill City Hall. (WHAV News photograph.)

Haverhill’s city council just underwent a round of musical chairs. With Andy Vargas named 3rd Essex State Representative Tuesday, incumbent Michael S. McGonagle found himself sliding into the council chamber seat vacated by Vargas.

As the 10th vote-getter in Tuesday’s municipal election, McGonagle earned his spot after his colleague relinquished his council seat to relocate to Beacon Hill.

John A. Michitson will again serve as council president, upholding the tradition as the top vote-getter after receiving 5,253 votes. He said his priorities continue to be public safety, education and economic development.

“Everybody knows those are the three important issues in the city, but they’re not always the ones that are discussed the most by politicians. The reason is they’re the hardest to solve,” he said.

Surprising voters was incumbent Thomas J. Sullivan, who will assume second chair and take over council vice president duties from Melinda A. Barrett. Sullivan received 5,133 total votes Tuesday—a respectable leap from 2015’s return of 3,299 votes.

Rounding out the council’s top five are Joseph J. Bevilacqua, Barrett and Colin F. LePage.

Tim Jordan and his wife Lindsay pose during a victory party Tuesday. (WHAV News photograph.)

Timothy J. Jordan will make his debut next year as the sole newcomer to City Hall’s Theodore A. Pelosi Council Chambers. Jordan explained what he thinks voters liked.

“What I heard a lot was people really valued all of the volunteerism that I’ve done. They feel like I’m committed to the city, that I’m running for the right reason, that I care about Haverhill and that I will make it better.”

Vargas—on the ballot in the event he lost to Shaun P. Toohey—placed seventh, followed by incumbents William J. Macek and Mary Ellen Daly-O’Brien.

Haverhill’s School Committee will also see a new face next year in Richard Rosa, who earned a spot in his first run for public office. Following his victory, he told WHAV his priorities seemed to resonate with voters.

“The three things I talked a lot about during the campaign were the dropout rate, early literacy and out of district spending for special education.”

“Thanks to my supporters and the voters of Haverhill; I look forward to serving you,” Rosa told WHAV’s Tim Coco Tuesday night after his win.

Rosa will have a chance to make his mark alongside returning School Committee Member Paul A. Magliocchetti, who earned the most votes, and fellow incumbent Maura L. Ryan-Ciardiello.

Magliocchetti said the new School Committee faces several challenges.

“Well, first and foremost, we have to focus on hiring a new superintendent. That’s going to be very challenging and I look forward to the challenge. “I’ll make sure I work very hard to get a capable and qualified candidate to replace a very strong candidate in Mr. (James F.) Scully,” he said.

The city’s longest-serving mayor, James J. Fiorentini, was elected to an eighth term Tuesday after running unopposed.