HAVERHILL (CBS) – It played out on public access television, right before the Haverhill School Board took a vote. Mayor Jim Fiorentini leaned over to Chairwoman Maura Ryan-Ciardiello, not realizing the microphone picked up his voice.
“This is a good project,” he said. “This will kill you if you vote against this, your career’s over…”
She’s heard responding, “I care more about the children and students.”
Days later, he told WBZ he does not regret that the microphone was hot. “What I said with the mic on is exactly what I meant, which is that this is a great project and people should vote for it,” Fiorentini said.
He said it was not meant to be a threat. “Friendly advice is not a threat,” he said.
It was a vote on solar panels, something the mayor pushed to have installed on the roof of Haverhill City Hall, and was pushing to put on Tilton Elementary.
Ryan-Ciardiello had concerns about all the weight on the building’s flat roof, and wasn’t convinced it had been thoroughly studied. Asked if it felt like a threat, she shook her head yes. “Coming from the Mayor who chairs the meeting, when he leans over seconds before I’m ready to cast my vote, and tells me that my political career, I’m going to get killed?”
Ryan-Ciardiello said she will not push the issue any more, but urges the voters to take notice. The mayor said he’ll continue to push for solar power throughout the city.
Ryan-Ciardiello voted against the proposed project, which did not pass in the end.