Haverhill Renews Search for Asst. School Supt. After Being Unable to Reach Pact with Silva

Maria Silva answers Haverhill School Committee questions. (WHAV News file photograph.)

The sole candidate for Haverhill school’s new assistant superintendent is out, and the School Committee is hoping an up to $165,000 yearly salary will attract a new round of candidates before the end of the month.

Talks with Maria Silva, the current business manager for Greater Lawrence Technical School, broke down during negotiations a week ago. A member of the subcommittee, Paul A. Magliocchetti, declined to identify specific areas of contention.

“We couldn’t come to terms on a contract. We decided to repost it,” Magliocchetti told WHAV Friday. Besides Magliocchetti, Superintendent Margaret Marotta sat with Silva last Monday. School Committee member Scott W. Wood Jr. also serves on the negotiating team, but could not attend because of a family emergency. Wood, however, did join the full School Committee last Thursday for a closed-door meeting to outline next steps.

At the meeting, the School Committee voted to raise the salary to between $150,000 and $165,000. Throughout the screening and interview process, Wood argued the salary offered is too low for someone to handle both business duties and oversight over personnel, food service, maintenance and technology.

“I don’t think at the $120 to $140 (thousand) salary, if you’re looking for an assistant superintendent of finance and operations, if you repost, I don’t think you’re going to get anything at that. I think you’ll get a quality business manager at that salary,” Wood said April 25.

“I do think that we will find someone at the salary we are looking at,” Wood told WHAV. “If you wanted someone who would encompass being superintendent and being in second in charge, the salary has to be commensurate with those responsibilities.”

Current school Business Manager Brian O’Connell. (WHAV News file photograph.)

Magliocchetti also told WHAV he believes the new search will be successful. “We’re optimistic. We have posted at a higher salary. The subcommittee that interviewed the prior candidates—they felt strongly, because of the kind of position we’re posting, that a more competitive salary would help attract a larger pool of candidates.”

While the School Committee members unanimously named Silva to the post last month, they added a condition when they realized no one had yet conducted reference checks.

The current $130,000 job of business manager is held by Brian O’Connell. At the end of January, he withdrew from contract renewal negotiations after being pressured to quit to accommodate the new school administration. He left open the possibility he will pursue legal action.

The job is posted here.

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