Former Haverhill City Councilor William J. Macek, who began serving the city in the 1980s and continued serving as part of the mayor’s staff, died unexpectedly today.
News of his passing came from former City Councilor Mary Ellen Daly O’Brien, who acted on behalf of Macek’s wife Maria and his children. O’Brien, who like Macek, chose not to seek another term two years ago, called him “A great councilor to work with who was all about the city.” Back in 2015, Macek described how he interpreted his role as an elected official.
“Whether you live next door to me, on the same street, same area, or whether you lived as far away as you could get from where I live, I give the same amount of attention and care to those individuals,” he said.
While Macek left the City Council, he continued as a member of the city’s Downtown Parking Commission. He came out of City Hall retirement earlier this year, taking the part-time job of deputy chief of staff to Mayor James J. Fiorentini. The mayor described the loss in personal terms.
“Bill was a wonderful city councilor, a wonderful public servant and, more importantly, he was a friend. His views were always sought out and always helpful. This is a loss to me and a tremendous loss to our city,” Fiorentini said.
Haverhill City Councilor Melinda E. Barrett told WHAV she talked with Macek just this morning, saying, “he was fine.” Her voice cracking with emotion, Barrett called him “a mentor, a friend, a really good guy.”
Macek and O’Brien hosted a WHAV program, “Spotlight on Candidates,” in 2021 to help the public choose their replacements. She said Macek’s insight was his great gift,” noting, “He was someone other councilors would turn to for guidance and a different opinion on any issue. That was the most important thing. He could look at something with a different pair of eyes.”
Besides serving in city government, Macek got his start as a radio announcer at WNBP in Newburyport and continuing at various radio stations, sometimes under the names “Bill Maxwell” or “Rick Adams,” and owned a number of radio stations over the years, including WPKZ, Fitchburg; WMOO, Derby, Vt.; WIKE, Newport, Vt.; and WINQ, Winchester, N.H.
WHAV will further chronicle Macek’s career and provide additional coverage over the next few days.