Analysis: Does School Business Manager Fate Hang on Finances or Politics?

Brian O’Connell, rear right, told the School Committee last May of his plan to pre-pay certain expenses with an expected surplus—an amount members said should have been known and disclosed. (WHAV News photograph.)

Brian O’Connell, Haverhill Public Schools’ business manager, appears to be on the verge of losing his job. Depending on who is asked, O’Connell is either someone who bungled the school budget or a victim of the political winds that sidelined the former school administration. O’Connell—a 34-year member of the Worcester School Committee, a lawyer and someone who has worked in school finance since 2002, has served mostly quietly and behind the scenes for a little more than three years. Report: Ouster Plan Takes Shape at Heated, Closed-Door Meeting

Even though his $130,000 contract ended last June, O’Connell is still a city employee and his formal termination may require a two-thirds vote of the School Committee.

Tainted Pot Money Goes to Local Elected Officials

Healthy Pharms Pays Jajuga $66,500; Jajuga Makes Donations to Local Political Campaigns During Same Period

Former state Senator and Methuen City Councilor James P. Jajuga was paid $66,500 to lobby in support of Healthy Pharms’ application to locate medical marijuana facility in Haverhill, a WHAV News investigation reveals. Between Oct. 20 and Nov. 21, 2013, Jajuga now says he “was retained to garner local municipal support in the City of Haverhill for Healthy Pharms, Inc. to operate a Registered Marijuana Dispensary in that city.”

During the reporting period, Jajuga made a number of campaign contributions locally, including $100 each to Mayor James J. Fiorentini, Haverhill City Councilor Thomas Sullivan and state Rep. Diana DiZoglio. Jajuga lists his check to Sullivan as occurring Oct.