Haverhill Schools Again Seek to Hire HVAC Tech, Raise Salary to $80K to Attract Applicants

HVAC work at Haverhill Public Schools in 2020. (Courtesy photograph.)

Haverhill schools may soon have a new on-staff technician specializing in heating, ventilation and air conditioning.

The Haverhill School Committee gave the go-ahead last week to moving money between accounts in order to hire a full-time HVAC technician. Stephen D. Dorrance, who was recently hired as the new facilities director, told the Committee that while most systems, such as plumbing and electric, can be monitored to be sure the job is done properly, heating and air conditioning issues cannot.

“The HVAC stuff, on the other hand, is buried in a building, it’s up on a roof, and it’s a huge expense for us. So, to ensure that we’re spending money wisely, I think that this investment, that will pay for itself, is justified,” Dorrance said.

School Superintendent Margaret Marotta told the Committee the administration looked to fill the position previously, but got no takers at the salary offered. She said schools must offer about $80,000 per year to attract a quality person.

Mayor James J. Fiorentini, typically an advocate for outsourcing work said, in this case, he would support the request.

“I am generally not in favor of hiring a lot more people in the department. I want to give you the team that you need in order to perform so I’ll support this tonight,” the mayor said.

Other members agreed and voted unanimously to transfer $40,000 from the COVID-19 emergency account in order to fund the position for the remainder of the school year.

In a related matter, Dorrance told the Committee he has been walking through school buildings paying particular attention to safety and code compliance issues. He said, overall, he is pleased with the cosmetic condition of the buildings, but has made a note of a number of other issues that must be addressed. He said he expects to have a solid work priority schedule within a week.

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