Those who saw Scott W. Wood Jr. sworn in as a Haverhill police officer last year and, again formally this past spring, may be surprised to learn Wood isn’t actively working now.
Neither Wood, who is also a longtime Haverhill School Committee member, nor Mayor James J. Fiorentini, who is chairman of the School Committee, answered WHAV’s questions. A limited response to WHAV’s public records request, however, suggests Wood hasn’t worked in many months.
Wood was sworn in by City Clerk Linda L. Koutoulas during late October of 2020 in Fiorentini’s office. Wood was listed as eligible on a Civil Service list after an act of the state legislature to overcome the city’s maximum age limit of 34. Wood was 37.
Wood was again sworn in during a public ceremony April 23 in City Hall auditorium. He joined 10 recent Police Academy graduates who joined the Haverhill force. At the time, no city official made any effort to dispel a common misperception that, unlike the others being sworn in, Wood was serving as a part-time “reserve” police officer. It is now unclear whether the second swearing in was merely ceremonial, as observers were left to believe, or an attempt to resolve some unidentified problem.
A “payroll history,” released by city Human Resources Director Denise McClanahan, confirms Wood’s reserve status and suggests he was paid about $30 an hour for regular pay dates between Nov. 25, 2020 and Feb. 25, 2021. WHAV did not send back any follow-up questions because the state Public Records Law doesn’t compel officials to answer questions—known as “interrogatories”—but, rather, only provide records that are not exempt from disclosure.
McClanahan listed the usual personnel privacy exemptions for not supplying some documents in response to WHAV’s public records requests.
Payroll records, however, also show Wood is not a member of the Haverhill Police Patrolman’s Association.
Union President Rick Welch, the only official who spoke with WHAV, confirmed Wood was never a union member because he “was not a full-time, certified police officer or working full-time hours at any point while he was here.” Welch said the union, however, welcomed the use of reserve officers during a time of many unfilled jobs to take the pressure off rank-and-file officers forced to work extra shifts.
Wood, an experienced part-time police officer in the Town of Wenham, was listed as reserve-certified.
While the union made no formal filings with the administration, Welch said, individual union members expressed early concerns about how police reform measures, then under debate in the state legislature, would apply to part-time officers.
State Civil Service Commission spokeswoman Sophia Capone said there are no matters involving Wood currently before board. The Civil Service Commission “hears and decides appeals from individuals protected by Massachusetts civil service law. This is not before the CSC at the moment. Questions on this matter would be best directed to the city of Haverhill,” she said.