By Shawn Regan
---- — HAVERHILL — Mayor James Fiorentini needs a new administrative assistant.
His longtime assistant Linda Koutoulas has been promoted to city clerk, replacing Margaret Toomey who retired this past summer after 10 years.
Koutoulas was appointed by the mayor and confirmed Tuesday by the City Council. She is scheduled to begin her new job a few doors down from the mayor’s office Jan. 1.
The clerk job’s comes with a $65,000 salary — $15,000 more than Koutoulas’ current salary as the mayor’s assistant.
“This is a bitter sweet day for me,” the mayor said at Tuesday’s meeting. “I am losing a wonderful assistant, who has been the heart and soul of my office for the past six years. She has supervised, organized and managed my volunteers and interns, and handled hundreds, maybe thousands, of constituent requests.”
Fiorentini said nine people applied for the job and that a committee that included Toomey, and Haverhill Human Resources Director Mary Carrington unanimously recommended Koutoulas for the clerk’s position.
“Linda Koutoulas is an outstanding candidate who will be an outstanding city clerk,” the mayor said. “She has over 16 years of government experience at the Statehouse and at City Hall. She has the background, energy level and experience to be an outstanding city clerk.”
Koutoulas, who lives in Haverhill with her husband, Apostolos, and their son Nicholas, has a bachelor of fine arts degree from the Massachusetts College of Art. She has also taken advanced courses in computer technology, the mayor said.
Koutoulas worked for more than a decade in the House of Representatives — first as a legislative aid and then as an administrative aide, the mayor said in a press release on her appointment.
At the Statehouse, Koutoulas helped draft legislation, handled constituent complaints, attended legislative hearings and wrote testimony for committee hearings, the mayor’s release said. In her time there, she worked for state Reps. John Binienda of Worcester, Dennis Murphy of Springfield and Albert Herren of Fall River, the release said.
Prior to working at the Statehouse, Koutoulas worked in retail and managed small stores, where she gained experience in budgeting and management, the mayor’s release said.
As Fiorentini’s assistant, Koutoulas has handled constituent requests, worked with the City Council, and has been in charge of recruiting, organizing and supervising volunteers and interns, the release said.
Fiorentini told councilors that Koutoulas has filled in as acting city clerk and assisted the clerk’s office in past elections, which is a major part of the city clerk’s job.
Koutoulas is also highly involved in the Haverhill community.
She is the city’s representative on the Creative Haverhill coalition and is a member of the Haverhill Cultural Council and Haverhill’s Brightside. She is also a member of the Haverhill Garden Club.
Last year, Koutoulas was inducted into the YWCA Academy of Women. This year, she received the Dynamic Duo award from Career Resources for mentoring of one of its clients.
The mayor said Koutoulas is an incredibly hard worker who often stays late at City Hall. He said her work ethic will serve her well in her new position.
“Over the years, I have received numerous letters from constituents commending Linda for her efforts resolving issues,” Fiorentini said. “Linda understands completely that the role of government is to serve people and she excels at that.”
Assistant City Clerk Heather Budrewicz has been filling in as acting city clerk since Toomey retired last summer. The mayor told councilors Tuesday that Budrewicz did an excellent job overseeing the city election earlier this month.