Councilors Adopt Plan to Allow All Members to Vote on Haverhill Parking Matters Despite Conflicts

Haverhill City Councilor William J. Macek. (WHAV News file photograph by Jay Saulnier.)

As the city of Haverhill has grown, so has the difficulty in finding a parking space downtown. The City Council and Mayor James J. Fiorentini revisited that issue at last night’s City Council meeting.

One of the reasons that the issue has dragged on for more than a few years is some councilors own property or have parking passes in the downtown area and need to recuse themselves from voting to avoid a conflict of interest. Because five votes are required—even when as many as four members have been barred from voting, Councilor William J. Macek’s previous “no” vote killed the last overhaul plan. Macek said he is now willing to work on a new plan.

“It’s been a long time since we have made changes and there is a need. It is a mess. Our downtown parking plan is confusing. It isn’t the same here or there. There’s a lot of things that need to be addressed,” Macek said.

Last night, the Council accepted a proposal by Fiorentini that City Council members each buy a parking pass—a move that would invoke the so-called “Rule of Necessity,” bypassing the conflict of interest issue.

Council Vice President Colin F. LePage noted the current parking plan doesn’t pay for itself and Councilor Mary Ellen Daly O’Brien called differing rules between parts of downtown—on-street and in parking lots—“foolishness.”

With that accomplished, the mayor said he will introduce a comprehensive total plan for the downtown area, which he says will do much to alleviate the current problems.

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