The Haverhill official who has managed the city’s financial rebound from the dark days following the collapse of the former city-owned Hale Hospital to today’s surpluses is retiring in January.
City Chief Financial Officer Charles Benevento was first hired by former Mayor John J. Guerin in 2003. The position had historically been known as city auditor with an additional stipend to serve as director of finance. Benevento holds all of those titles. The finance chief became well known by the public for his night appearances and matter of fact responses during City Council budget conferences and tax classification hearings. In 2017, for example, Benevento painted a grim picture of expected state and federal receipts.
“There’s a lot of uncertainty in what’s happening now because it’s not just the Commonwealth that they’re worried about. Some of the concerns they talk about is what’s going to happen with the federal budget,” he said at the time.
He declined to list for WHAV the peaks and valleys of his time in office. “I’m not good at that. I don’t really have any highs and lows. I just came and did my job,” he said.
Benevento said he won’t have trouble, though, filling his days upon retirement. “I have a grandson and another one on his way. That will keep me busy,” he told WHAV.
Benevento received his accounting degree in from Boston University, where he was also first hired as a general accounting analyst in 1980. He went to work as Amesbury’s finance director, town accountant and MIS director in 1986 followed by Chelsea finance director in 1998, North Andover finance director in 2000 and Haverhill city auditor and finance director in 2003. He took a year off from the city between 2014 and 2015 when he returned to Amesbury. During that year, his job was held by Andrew Vanni of Medford.
The city advertised the job last week, reporting an expected annual salary of $140,000, plus an annual retirement board stipend of $3,000.