Coalition Seeks Scrutiny, Censure of Haverhill Mayoral Contender Wood After Background Inquiry Surfaces

Scott W. Wood Jr. is sworn in during 2020 as a Haverhill police officer before then-Mayor James J. Fiorentini and City Clerk Linda L. Koutoulas. (Courtesy photograph.)

See also, Three Haverhill Officials Call for Answers From School Committee Member Who Lost Police Job

A coalition is calling for the censure—or expression of formal disapproval—of Haverhill mayoral candidate and School Committee member Scott Wood; an investigation by the state Ethics Commission of recently reported allegations of racism, sexual harassment and job misconduct by Wood; and the city to hire a diversity, equity and inclusion officer.

The group, which includes several people associated with local clergy, plan to present their demands during a “Call to Action” Friday afternoon in front of Haverhill City Hall. A copy of a letter provided by Calvary Baptist Church Pastor Kenneth M. Young explains the group’s intent.

“We believe an investigation is crucial to address this matter and ensure the integrity and transparency of our municipal government. We believe that it is crucial for the integrity of our municipal government and the well-being of our community that immediate action is taken,” the letter reads.

WHAV, after making several public records requests dating back more than a year, broke the news Monday that Wood is no longer working as a police patrolman as a result of allegations made in a 2013 background check by since-retired Deputy Police Chief Donald Thompson that was backed up by a Feb. 15, 2022 review by Haverhill Police Capt. Meaghan Paré. WHAV first questioned Wood’s Haverhill police employment status when he was not seen on the job during the summer and fall of 2021, but the city gave incomplete responses to a WHAV public records request. Wood, however, acknowledged in a lawsuit filed last week that he was ordered to “return his badge and gun and all Police Department related equipment” on June 18, 2021.

Thompson’s report alleges “unprofessional and problematic behavior” including sending text messages calling Haverhill Mayor James J. Fiorentini a “Nigga Lover” and “Ass Monkey.” The follow-up by Paré also references Wood calling the mayor a “no good piece of monkey…”

Wood filed suit case against the city, Haverhill Police Department and current and former Chiefs of Police Robert P. Pistone and Anthony Haugh. He charges all broke an agreement to “dispose of all copies of a background report” from 2013. Wood’s lawyer, Suzanne L. Herold, went on to note Wood was working as a policer officer in Wenham until Dec. 2, 2022 when Wenham Police Chief Kevin DiNapoli told him “he was being put on administrative leave and that his badge and gun where being taken” because of the background report now on file with the district attorney and in the, so called, “Brady List” law enforcement database.

The coalition forming in opposition to Wood is conducting a rally Friday afternoon at 3 on the steps of Haverhill City Hall, 4 Summer St. The letter provided by Young noted, “As a community-led response team, we collectively agree that the authority and influence held by Mr. Scott Wood as a public servant should be censured immediately given the gravity of these allegations. If the city or School Committee lacks the authority to censure Mr. Wood, we respectfully request that you take steps to create that process and establish a joint City Council-School Committee ethics committee. In the meantime, a resolution or vote of no confidence from the School Committee is warranted.”

The Haverhill City Council this week approved a city spending plan that includes $30,000 for a diversity consultant.

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