Conservation Commission Appoints Howard-Morrissey Chairperson

Haverhill City Hall. (WHAV News file photograph.)

Two months after the abrupt dismissal of longtime head Cheryl Accardi, Haverhill’s Conservation Commission has found a new chairperson in attorney Madeline Howard-Morrissey.

First appointed as a commissioner in 2014, Haverhill’s Howard-Morrissey was elevated to chairperson by a unanimous vote lastThursday. Following a nomination from Commissioner Ralph Basiliere and a second by Phil LaCroix, the six commissioners present, including new member Joseph DiPietro, cast votes in her favor.

Harmony Wilson will continue in her role as vice chairperson, with Howard-Morrissey’s term running through mid-January when the Commission will host annual elections.

“Ms. Howard-Morrissey and Ms. Wilson both acted with great deliberation and selfless in providing the leadership necessary to do the people’s work,” commissioner Basiliere told WHAV.

The Commission’s personnel changes come on the heels of Mayor James J. Fiorentini’s dismissal of 24-year commissioner Accardi, in what the former chairperson alleged was retaliation for the Commission’s decision to cite the city for cutting 147 trees along the Merrimack River last year.

When asked about the tree removal, Fiorentini defended it at the time.

“In 14 years as mayor, that’s the most popular thing I have ever done. People love that project,” he told WHAV, explaining that the clearing opened up views of the Merrimack River.

The replanting of trees was completed by MON Landscaping in early September.