Scully said he believes both candidates are “capable and qualified” and that he would be happy to see either one offered the job. Scully noted O’Connor is not certified as a school business manger in Massachusetts, but said he is highly regarded and has plenty of experience. Scully said O’Connor came to his attention in Lawrence, after a firm the city hired to find the district a top financial administrator recommended O’Connor for the job. O’Connor was also a finance director for the Concord, N.H., school district from 2005 to 2007, according to his resume.
“The main thing is we need to fill this position right away,” Scully said, noting his failed attempt to see another highly qualified candidate appointed to the interim finance position last month. “I want the School Committee to meet them both and given me their opinion,” Scully said of Berdell and O’Connor.
David Jack, a retired Amesbury school superintendent, was on track for the position until he unexpectedly withdrew his candidacy last month. Jack’s decision came after Scully told the School Committee he planned to hire Jack, but the committee refused to approve the appointment until it could meet Jack and question him.
A few days later, Jack sent Scully an email withdrawing his candidacy.
“Given the initial reception of your idea by the School Committee, I think that I am going to withdraw any interest into that position,” the email said.
School Committee member Scott Wood said he expects the committee to chose one of the candidates following tonight’s interviews. After that, Wood said it will be up to Scully to negotiate a contract with the winner and then send it back to the committee for final approval.
“I agree with the superintendent that we can’t be without a business manager, so it makes sense for us to try to get this done (tonight),” Wood said.