School Committee to revisit maintenance vehicle policy

·3 min read

Aug. 5—HAVERHILL — The School Committee will revisit its policy on the use of maintenance department vehicles after one member pointed out what he said was a violation of that policy.

After learning the newly-hired assistant facilities director had been allowed to take his maintenance department Ford Explorer back and forth from his home in Watertown each day, School Committee member Scott Wood said he wanted the district's policy on the usage of maintenance vehicles to be updated.

Wood said the travel was outside of the radius the School Committee allows in its vehicle usage policy, and wants to see all vehicles fitted with GPS tracking devices, in compliance with a 2008 policy.

"Somewhere along the line, none of these policies are being followed any more," he said, adding that not all of the district's maintenance vehicles are equipped with trackers, but should be.

The committee voted to direct Superintendent Margaret Marotta to have GPS devices installed in Facility Director Steve Dorrance's maintenance vehicle, which Wood said is a newly purchased Ford F-250 pickup truck, and also installed in the Ford Explorer that Dorrance said he'd handed down to his new assistant director.

Dorrance said Department of Public Works managers do not have tracking devices, therefor his does not have one either.

Dorrance added that as an incentive to bring the new assistant facilities director Michael Flood to Haverhill, he told him he could have the use of a maintenance department vehicle. He also said Flood plans to move to Haverhill.

"I committed to one thing and the offer letter says something else," Dorrance said in reference to Marotta's appointment letter that specifies Flood can use a vehicle for "in town travel" only.

Wood said the director of maintenance should not be making contractual offers.

"The school committee sets the budget of the financial terms, not the director of maintenance," Wood said. "He (Dorrance) cannot make a verbal commitment on behalf of the School Committee without our authorization. That verbal commitment doesn't mean anything."

Wood told Dorrance that his decision to offer a vehicle to Flood was outside of the law and outside the scope of his responsibilities.

The committee also approved sending the vehicle usage policy to the finance committee for review to better define which maintenance vehicles can be brought home and under what circumstances.

Wood is chairman of the finance committee, which includes committee members Toni Sapienza-Donais and Rich Rosa.

Marotta appointed Flood assistant director of facilities effective July 6 at an annual salary of $90,000. Flood is required to be available on call for facilities and weather related emergencies on nights and on weekends. He is required to work flexible hours in the day and evening and supervise custodial staff. He receives an evening differential of $1,538 plus a $1,000 stipend for having a bachelors degree.

The agreement includes a facilities vehicle for use "in town," a laptop computer, and reimbursement for a cell phone and job specific tools and clothing.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting