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May 12, 2013

Politics drives away school finance chief candidate

Business manager contender cites politics

HAVERHILL — The city’s political tension has chased away the top candidate for the job of school spending director.

David Jack, a retired Amesbury school superintendent who was on track to be hired as the district’s interim business manager, unexpectedly withdrew his candidacy. His decision came after Superintendent James 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.

On Thursday, 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. “I would have enjoyed the opportunity to work with you and am sure that we would have been very successful.”

School Committee President Paul Magliocchetti said Jack might have been scared off by the committee’s history of political squabbles and infighting with administrators.

“The disagreement we had was with the superintendent over the process for bringing this person on,” Magliocchetti said. “It had nothing to with (Jack), but maybe he got the wrong the message.”

Jack retired in 2011 and has since filled in as interim business manager at several large public school districts in the area. The School Committee scheduled a public interview of Jack for May 23, following which the committee was expected to vote on his appointment. He would have replaced Kara Kosmes, Haverhill’s longtime assistant superintendent for finance and operations. Kosmes is leaving at the end of the school year to become business manager at Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School.

Jack was also in line to become the city’s highest paid employee per day, at a rate of $750 for every eight hours worked. However, Superintendent James Scully said Jack would work only about 10 days a month, limiting his salary.

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