Haverhill Councilors Expect Tonight to Cancel March 21 Meeting in Favor of Mayor’s State of the City Speech

Haverhill Mayor James J. Fiorentini.(WHAV News photograph.)

Click image for Haverhill City Council agenda.

Haverhill Mayor’s James J. Fiorentini’s final “state of the city” address is not expected to compete after all with a City Council meeting planned for the same day in March.

City councilors are expected to vote tonight to cancel their Tuesday, March 21, regular meeting. Two weeks ago, the Council voted 5-4 to repeal one of its own rules that calls off a meeting when the mayor gives his annual address. Members agreed instead to invite Fiorentini to speak an hour earlier. The mayor, however, held firm on giving his speech at the same time, but across the hall in the auditorium.

“I didn’t want to make things difficult for the city clerk, for WHAV, HC Media, my fellow councilors or anybody else because the mayor wouldn’t actually compromise, wouldn’t agree to do it a different day, wouldn’t agree to do it earlier. It just put everybody in an awkward position. To alleviate this for all of them, I decided to support cancelling the meeting,” Council President Timothy J. Jordan said.

Jordan explained that because the job of assistant city clerk is vacant, City Clerk Kaitlin M. Wright would have difficulty supporting two meetings at the same time.

Former City Councilor and current mayoral Deputy Chief of Staff William J. Macek told WHAV he understands the perspectives of both sides. “I’m glad they’re keeping with tradition,” he said.

Council President Timothy J. Jordan and Councilor Melissa J. Lewandowski proposed eliminating the rule two weeks ago, calling it effectively a separation of government powers issue. They explained the rule gave the mayor the unusual power to cancel a Council meeting.

Members narrowly voted to eliminate the rule with Jordan, Vice President John A. Michitson and Councilors Michael S. McGonagle, Catherine P. Rogers and Lewandowski in favor and Councilors Melinda E. Barrett, Shawn P. Toohey, Bevilacqua and Thomas J. Sullivan opposed. Sullivan, however, suggesting a compromise where the mayor would speak before the meeting.

In other business before the City Council, as WHAV reported two weeks ago, members will take up proposed changes to rules regarding what were once known as “in law apartments.”

The Haverhill City Council meets tonight at 7, remotely and in-person at the Theodore A. Pelosi Jr. Council Chambers, room 202, Haverhill City Hall, 4 Summer St., As a public service, 97.9 WHAV plans to carry the meeting live.

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