EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

December 31, 2013

Haverhill's new officials to be sworn in Monday

Mayor's speech to focus on need for new Hunking School, waterfront development

By Shawn Regan
sregan@eagletribune.com

---- — HAVERHILL — Mayor James Fiorentini said he will stress the importance of replacing the deteriorated Hunking School and his plan for spurring development of key under-used buildings along the Merrimack River in his inauguration address Monday.

The city will swear in its new government leaders at a public ceremony set to begin at 10 a.m. in the Nicholas J. Ross Auditorium on City Hall’s second floor.

Congresswoman Niki Tsongas is scheduled to administer the oath of office to Fiorentini, whom voters swept to a modern-day Haverhill record sixth consecutive two-year term in November. New City Clerk Linda Koutoulas will swear in nine city councilors and three School Committee members.

Koutoulas, formerly the mayor’s administrative assistant, was appointed in November to replace long-time City Clerk Margaret Toomey, who retired last summer. Koutoulas is set to begin her new job Jan. 1.

John Michitson was the top vote-getter among council candidates. He is expected to be elected council president by his colleagues at a brief organizational meeting during the inauguration ceremony.

As is custom, Fiorentini and the council’s new president and vice president will be invited to address the gathering, providing their assessment of the city and laying out their agenda and vision for the coming two years.

“I intend to make my sixth term as vigorous as my first,” Fiorentini said. “I will start the very first day after the inauguration by asking the City Council to approve as proposed my new waterfront zoning ordinance.”

Among other things, the mayor’s zoning proposal requires developers of riverfront property to provide land for public access and walkways.

“We can make our city more desirable and our future brighter by assuring that the public always has access to our most precious asset, the Merrimack River,” the mayor said.

Fiorentini said he will also stress the importance of replacing the deteriorated Hunking School with a new building in the city’s Bradford section. Officials intend to ask voters to OK the city’s $24 million share of the $60 million, 1,005-student new school later this winter or in early spring. The state has committed to paying the rest of the cost.

“I intend to stress how important it is to build a new Hunking School — not just for the kids that go there, not just for one section of Haverhill, but for the entire city and for our future,” the mayor said.

The Haverhill High School band is scheduled to play the inauguration processional as the mayor, School Committee and city councilors enter the auditorium

Speakers include the Rev. Suzy Goodspeed, chaplain at Merrimack Valley Hospital; the Rev. Robert Murray of St. John and St. James Parish; and Rabbi Ira Korinow of Temple Emanu-el.

The high school chorus will perform the National Anthem. The Latino Choir of St. James Church is also scheduled to perform.

In addition to the mayor, nine councilors and three School Committee members are to be sworn in — all incumbents except new councilor Melinda Barrett and new School Committee member Maura Ryan-Ciardiello.

Voters swept Fiorentini to victory in the election over challenger Tyler Kimball, a city firefighter and local farm owner who mounted a late-entry, write-in/sticker campaign. The final results of the mayoral contest were 6,488 votes for Fiorentini and 2,191 for Kimball. Michitson tallied 5,212 votes for council — just five more than second-place finisher Robert Scatamacchia, who has presided over the council for the past 14 months.

Barrett, who placed third in the election, replaces longtime councilor Michael Hart, who decided not to seek re-election.

Ryan-Ciardiello finished second in the school race behind Joseph Bevilacqua’s 4,757 votes. She replaces retired school principal Raymond Sierpina on the School Committee.

Haverhill’s new government (in order of election results): Mayor: James Fiorentini; Councilors: John Michitson, Robert Scatamacchia, Melinda Barrett, William Macek, William Ryan, Thomas Sullivan, Mary Ellen Daly O’Brien, Michael McGonagle, Colin LePage; School Committee: Joseph Bevilacqua, Maura Ryan-Ciardiello, Paul Magliocchetti.