Haverhill School Committee to Consult Lawyer on Late Response to Open Meeting Law Complaint

Haverhill Education Association members picket City Hall Thursday, Sept. 14, on behalf of educational support professionals. (WHAV News photograph.)

The Haverhill School Committee, questioned by the state attorney general’s office over its late response to an August Open Meeting Law complaint, plans to bring the matter to its lawyer for resolution.

That complaint, filed by WHAV, sprang from an Aug. 24 executive session where members voted to end legal action against the Haverhill Education Association as a result of last year’s teacher’s strike. Committee member Paul A. Magliocchetti read from the AG’s letter.

“Under the open-meeting law, a public body must respond to complaints within 14 business days. Our office has not yet received a response from the committee. Please advise us on the status of the committee’s response.”

Magliochetti said it is important the Committee choose a representative to work with school lawyer David M. Connelly to design a response to the state. Members agreed and selected him to handle the task. Magliocchetti said he expects the response ready by the next meeting.

WHAV filed its follow-up complaint with Attorney General Andrea Joy Campbell’s office Oct. 5.

“While the Haverhill School Committee raised the matter during its Sept. 14, 2023 meeting, it not only provided no rationale for its illegal executive session, members made incoherent statements, fought largely among themselves, offered no response to WHAV as required under (the law) and failed to respond to WHAV or delegate to another person or entity to do so,” WHAV wrote.

The School Committee ultimately voted again to end legal action by a 6-0 vote with Mayor James J. Fiorentini absent after earlier walking out of the meeting.

The Superior Court case in question sought about $300,000 to recover costs related to last fall’s strike by teachers. It was brought by the Commonwealth Employment Relations Board and the Haverhill School Committee against the Haverhill Education Association, Massachusetts Teachers Association, Timothy Briggs and Christine Hickey in their union roles.

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