Scott W. Wood Jr. hopes the Haverhill School Committee will abandon the “highly bitter divide between members” in 2019. (File photograph)
Longtime School Committeeman Scott W. Wood Jr. hopes 2019 will be a year of new beginnings for the Haverhill education board. Ahead of the committee’s first January meeting Thursday night, Wood tells WHAV he intends to nominate colleague Maura Ryan-Ciardiello to be the elected body’s vice chairperson.
In doing so, Wood hopes his colleagues—Paul A. Magliocchetti, Richard J. Rosa, Gail M. Sullivan and Sven A. Amirian—will avoid the weeks of strife that preceded Magliocchetti’s ascension to the role last year. Magliocchetti currently sits second chair to Mayor James J. Fiorentini.
“Last year was a split 4-3 vote and a highly personal vote that has helped lead to the highly bitter divide between members. In voting last year, Attorney Rosa stated he wanted to “leave it up to the voters,” which is why he supported Attorney Magliocchetti,” Wood said. The longtime city servant said he hopes Rosa will stick to his word Thursday—“and his faith in the voters”—by seconding the planned nomination of Ryan-Ciardiello.
Several tie votes during the 2018 selection of the second-in-command were the result of absences or abstentions and saw a number of proposed policies go down to defeat. Those included naming the top vote-getter, the most senior member, or the member who had yet to serve in a leadership role.
During that back-and-forth, Wood offered to withdraw his name from consideration in exchange for a proposal to appoint the senior committee member, beginning in 2019. Wood said he would nominate Amirian. The move was designed to end the standoff, which was “making us look bad,” Wood said.
However, Wood’s proposal failed, after which Amirian nominated Magliocchetti and Ryan-Ciardiello nominated Wood. Magliocchetti and Wood voted for themselves; Ryan-Ciardiello and Fiorentini voted for Wood; and Rosa, Amirian and Sullivan voted for Magliocchetti, ending the lengthy stalemate.
The vote followed the decision to eliminate the president and vice president roles, selecting a vice chairman to run meetings in the absence of Fiorentini.
WHAV plans to broadcast this week’s School Committee meeting live as a public service starting at 7 p.m. only on 97.9 FM.