Traditions Kept and Broken During Monday’s Haverhill Inauguration in City Hall; Trahan to Swear In Mayor

Mayor James J. Fiorentini outlines his master plan for Haverhill during his 2018 inauguration ceremony. Councilor Melinda E. Barrett is at left while Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito is at right. (WHAV News file photograph.)

Mayor James J. Fiorentini will be sworn in by Congresswoman Lori Trahan for his unprecedented ninth term, and the City Council could well have its first woman president during Monday morning’s inaugural ceremonies in Haverhill City Hall.

It will actually be Fiorentini’s 13th time being sworn in during the ceremonies in the auditorium which technically take place during a pomp- and circumstance-filled City Council meeting. Fiorentini was sworn in four times as a city councilor following his election to that body in 1995 and then took his first oath as mayor in 2004. U.S. Sen. Ed Markey is expected to introduce Trahan.

City Councilor Melinda E. Barrett. (WHAV News file photograph.)

More than one tradition is expected to be broken when the City Council elects its president. Councilors typically—but not always—elect the highest vote recipient as its president. However, Councilor Melinda E. Barrett is widely expected to be elected by her colleagues—skipping over Councilor Joseph J. Bevilacqua who received 665 more votes. The second highest vote-getter, current City Council President John A. Michitson, told WHAV in November he is “stepping aside” to “focus on the key issues that have not been addressed enough.”

The tradition of electing the top vote recipient as president did not begin with the inauguration of the city’s current charter in 1968, but rather two years later when George L. Winfield Jr. was sworn in as Haverhill’s first black Council president. He was the top vote recipient in the 1969 election and kept the title after his 1971 re-election.

Councilor Colin F. LePage is expected to be elected vice president. All other councilors to be sworn in are Thomas J. Sullivan, Timothy J. Jordan, Michael S. McGonagle, Mary Ellen Daly O’Brien and William J. Macek.

School Committeewoman Toni Sapienza-Donais takes her first oath of office. She will be joined by School Committee members Gail M. Sullivan and Scott W. Wood Jr. The other three members School Committee members were not up for re-election—the only elected city body to have staggered terms.

Most other traditions date back to the inauguration of James F. Waldron, the city’s first mayor under the current charter—known as Plan A.

Fiorentini’s inauguration speech is expected to highlight the city’s proposed new master plan. His office released an excerpt of his speech that reads, “Today, once again, we are on the threshold of a new roaring 20s…Once again our downtown is booming with dozens of stylish restaurants, and we are seeing incredible new investments in places like Haverhill Heights, Harbor Place and maybe a Stuart Weitzman museum and cultural center.”

The ceremony begins at 10 a.m., Monday.

Mayors of Haverhill (under Plan A Charter)

1968 James F. Waldron
1970 James F. Waldron
1972 George K. Katsaros
1974 George K. Katsaros
1976 Lewis C. Burton
1978 George K. Katsaros
1980 Thomas S. Vathally
1982 William H. Ryan
1984 William H. Ryan
1986 William H. Ryan
1988 Theodore A. Pelosi Jr.
1990 Theodore A. Pelosi Jr.
1992 Theodore A. Pelosi Jr.
1994 James A. Rurak
1996 James A. Rurak
1998 James A. Rurak
2000 James A. Rurak
2002 John J. Guerin Jr.
2004 James J. Fiorentini
2006 James J. Fiorentini
2008 James J. Fiorentini
2010 James J. Fiorentini
2012 James J. Fiorentini
2014 James J. Fiorentini
2016 James J. Fiorentini
2018 James J. Fiorentini
2020 James J. Fiorentini

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