Haverhill School Committee Member Sullivan May Vie for Early’s Whitter Tech Seat at April 25 Meeting

Haverhill School Committee member Gail M. Sullivan. (WHAV News file photograph)

In a surprising turn, Haverhill School Committee member Gail M. Sullivan appears to be under consideration for Richard P. Early Jr.’s seat on the Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School Committee.

Interviews for Early’s seat will now be held at the committee’s next meeting on April 25. Member Richard J. Rosa said City Solicitor Lisa L. Mead initially advised members to turn Sullivan away.

“She felt that we could not elect one of our own, even though we had been doing that for many years,” he said at last night’s meeting. After Mead consulted the state ethics commission, Rosa said it turned out the School Committee could appoint one of its members to the Whittier Tech school board.

“So out of fairness to Ms. Sullivan, and out of fairness to Mr. Early, who wasn’t expecting anyone else, at this point, to be involved,” Rosa said the interview of Mr. Early, scheduled for last night, should be pushed to the next meeting.

Initially, the school board invited candidates to run for two seats, later declaring only Early’s seat to be open. This announcement resulted in only two other candidates, Paul Bergman and Jeff LeBlanc, vying for Early’s spot, despite six expressing interest. Then LeBlanc dropped out, as WHAV reported, leaving the incumbent Early and, presumably now Sullivan, the only candidates.

Former committee member Scott W. Wood Jr.’s seat remains untouched after the committee went back on their policy that vacated it, as WHAV reported. It is being reconsidered because Mead judged the committee may have violated the state’s Open Meeting Law when members failed to vote separately on that policy and eight others during a March 14 meeting.

Last night, at the advice of Rosa, the committee voted to rescind the policy. Rosa suggested the April 22 policy subcommittee meeting “would be a good time to solidify what our policy is going to be.”

Referring to pushing the candidate interviews to April 25, Rosa said, “I’m just suggesting we table this so that everyone is up to speed as to where we are, and who has expressed interest in the position.”

Mayor Melinda E. Barrett informed the committee Allis Sears and Tom Duggan filed open meeting law complaints. Rosa explained the committee needed to have listed on the agenda each of the nine policies voted on during the March 14 meeting. On the mayor’s request, members authorized the city solicitor to respond to Sears and Duggan.


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