Haverhill School Officials Decline to Reveal Assistant Superintendent Finalist

Haverhill School Superintendent Margaret Marotta with Mayor James J. Fiorentini. (WHAV News file photograph.)

Although the Haverhill School Committee voted last week to name one finalist out of 13 applicants for the job of assistant superintendent, school administrators Thursday declined WHAV’s request to reveal the individual.

State public records law requires release of finalists’ names. Superintendent Margaret Marotta’s administrative assistant, Andrea Sheehan, gave no reason for the denial. She told WHAV by email, “The name of the candidate is not being released at this time. We will keep you informed as appropriate.” WHAV also made the request of Haverhill Mayor James J. Fiorentini. It was not revealed whether any of the candidates had been notified of the School Committee’s unanimous decision a week ago to advance only one person for an interview. School Committee member Gail M. Sullivan last week explained why the pool was narrowed to one.

“We didn’t have three to five people that we thought would be excellent enough for this position so we do feel like we have one person,” she said.

The recently approved position of assistant superintendent of operations and finance is designed to combine the job of business manager with someone to oversee personnel, food service, maintenance and technology. The business manager’s job is currently held by Brian O’Connell. He withdrew from contract renewal negotiations at the end of January after being pressured to step down.

School Committee member Scott W. Wood Jr., who served with Sullivan on the candidate screening committee, said the group interviewed seven or eight candidates.

“There certainly candidates that were qualified to be business managers and probably run the business office very well. However, they might not have been the level of assistant superintendent of overseeing all those and doing all the other things,” he said.

Wood suggested the advertised salary of $120,000 to $140,000 was not enough to attract competitive candidates. He told members the salary may end up closer to $160,000.

Mayor James J. Fiorentini questioned whether expanding the business manager’s job is necessary. Marotta responded, “I think it’s very unusual that a district with 8,000 students wouldn’t have an assistant superintendent. I keep hearing that if I got hit by a bus, what would happen?”

On the motion of Paul A. Magliocchetti, seconded by Vice Chairman Sven A. Amirian, the committee agreed to advance the finalist.

WHAV has requested the reason behind the refusal to release the finalist’s name before deciding whether to appeal the denial under the Massachusetts Public Records Law.

Comments are closed.