Closed-Door School Business Manager Session Brings Request for Recording

The fate of school Business Manager Brian O’Connell, rear right, could be decided tonight. (WHAV News file photograph.)

Click image above for Haverhill School Committee agenda.

After what was reported to be a heated closed-door meeting of the Haverhill School Committee, one member is asking such sessions be audio recorded.

In a Wednesday afternoon email to Mayor James J. Fiorentini, School Committee member Scott W. Wood Jr. alluded to a Dec. 13 meeting where, according to multiple sources, members nearly came to blows.

“In light of the last executive session, I believe it to be important for the public to be able to have access to these tapes once there is no longer a need for privacy. Also, if there is a recording there can be no debate of what did or didn’t happen,” Wood wrote. Wood said the mayor’s comment to WHAV that no action was taken on O’Connell’s fate is an example of a debate over what did or didn’t happen.

The request is timely since members are scheduled to resume discussion tonight on the future of school Business Manager Brian O’Connell and approve the minutes of the last, disputed meeting.

As WHAV previously reported, School Committee members appeared to have taken steps to oust O’Connell during the closed-door session after an open meeting. O’Connell’s $130,000 Haverhill contract expired last June, but he has continued working under the same terms.

Wood suggested recording of such meetings may be a condition of his attending them. “Depending on how we move forward will determine my attendance at future sessions,” he wrote.

While Wood and School Committee Vice Chairman Paul A. Magliocchetti have negotiated renewal terms, the full board did not advance a new contract at the last meeting. There are reports O’Connell has since met with Fiorentini who was reportedly asked to show O’Connell the handwriting on the wall and ask him to leave on his own.