HAVERHILL — The mayor, School Committee and superintendent are at odds over a new position that will oversee the school district’s human resources department and a program that serves about 800 students with learning disabilities.
The new hire comes three years after the schools and city agreed to consolidate their human resources operations under City Personnel Director Mary Carrington and decided not to replace former Assistant School Superintendent Richard Langlois, who was in charge of school personnel matters.
Superintendent James Scully said two administrators were doing the human resources and student resources jobs a few years ago, receiving salaries totalling close to $180,000. Both of those administrators are gone now, leaving a clerk and other unqualified workers to cover those duties, Scully said.
The new administrator will oversee both departments in the school system for between $75,000 and $85,000 a year, he said.
The School Committee approved the hire with a 4-3 vote at its last meeting. The position is set to be advertised this week, Scully said.
In light of Haverhill’s financial problems and mounting debt, several recent school administrator pay raises have sparked controversy. In one instance earlier this year, the School Committee hiked Assistant Superintendent Mary Malone’s annual pay by $22,000 to $120,000. In another, Scully was given a $35,000 pay raise last year to 180,000. Each of those raises was approved by a split vote of the School Committee, with Mayor James Fiorentini voting against Scully’s raise and absent for the vote to increase Malone’s pay. The mayor is chairman of the School Committee.
Fiorentini said he would have supported hiring a human resources professional to help the schools, but he opposed spending up to $85,000 for a new, full-time administrator.
Fiorentini said the position is in this year’s school budget, but it was not funded. He said he expects the district will use some of the $4.5 million in additional school aid it received this year from the state to fund the position.