Haverhill and Methuen have hired an energy manager to help both cities save money on electricity and move toward using alternate power sources such as solar.
Haverhill Mayor James Fiorentini said Orlando Pacheco will work two days in Methuen and three days in Haverhill, where he will also serve as the city’s chief procurement officer. Pacheco’s $85,000 annual salary is being split three ways — Haverhill is paying $21,000, Methuen is paying $14,000 and the state is picking up $50,000 through an energy grant.
The energy partnership is the second such venture between Haverhill and Methuen. The neighboring communities also recently received a state grant to hire and share a program director, Pedro Soto, to oversee efforts to combat abandoned and neglected buildings in both cities.
David Van Dam, Fiorentini’s aide, said the state appears to look favorably on communities that collaborate to apply for competitive grants.
Fiorentini said Pacheco will oversee several energy initiates, including making public buildings and schools more energy efficient, installing a solar farm at the former city landfill on Old Groveland Road that is in the process of being capped, and evaluating whether the city could save money by buying its street lights from National Grid to reduce the cost of electricity.
“We can and should be doing a lot more with energy efficiency and solar power,” Fiorentini said, noting the city already has a small solar farm on Hilldale Avenue and that there are solar panels on the roof of the Citizens Center. “I want us to be known as the solar city.”
Pacheco was previously town administrator in Lancaster for 10 years. He was a mayoral aide in Amesbury before that.
Haverhill also hired Pacheco to replace city purchasing chief Robert DeFusco, who retired earlier this month. In Haverhill, Pacheco will split his time between purchasing and energy, the mayor said.