Keeping Elected Officials Accountable 

(reminder: always do your own research)

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With the school year about to start and the political shenanigans already afoot, this petition is timely and extremely important. We need to keep our kids safe and our Haverhill citizens informed.

Fiorentini endorses Scott Wood via Donais proxy

Lumberjack's notes:

The outgoing resident of Haverhill's corner office announced his endorsements for a limited selection of political positions a couple days ago and the picks were all pretty obvious for various reasons.

The only one I will discuss today is his endorsement of Toni Donais for City Council. 

With his time in the local political limelight rapidly coming to an end, Fiorentini couldn't resist a last attempt at playing kingmaker. Much to his chagrin, the opportunity to anoint his political understudy, Scott Wood, came to a swift and fiery conclusion as controversy consumed the would be mayor and school committeeman's campaign before it even got off the ground.

Fiorentini was forced to watch by the sidelines and let another political has-been carry  Wood's torch lest the taint of the scandal return upon him.

Another desperate political candidate running for two different seats was not so scared to hitch her wagon to Wood even after his ignominious collapse. Donais actually doubled down on Wood, announcing his support and special guest status at her fundraiser last week.

And now comes Fiorentini endorsing Donais which in my opinion is in essence a back door way to endorse Wood.

So you could even say that a vote for Donais in either Ward 2 City Council or Ward 2 School Committee is a proxy vote for Jim Fiorentini and Scott Wood! Oh what a tangled web we weave.

And like a tenacious cancer, he's back! 

Lumberjack's notes:

I suppose I could be referring to Scully or Wood with this headline as they both come from the old guard that has plagued this city for 20+ years. But, the real threat here is from Toni Donais as she has clearly doubled down on her relationship with Wood. Why in the world would any sane candidate continue to be associated with this disgraced individual? It is clear that a vote for Donais is a vote for Wood and more of the same dysfunction that has been a hallmark of the Haverhill School Committee for over two decades.

 Don't forget, Donais and Wood have been running mirror image campaign playbooks. Wood failed miserably with his run for two elected seats and Donais is doing exactly the same thing in Ward 2 by trying for both school committee and city council.

This tactic will likely never be allowed again as there are two ballot questions asking if this specific practice should be abolished in our charter. My guess is both ballot questions pass resoundingly.

But for now, citizens in Ward 2, be on guard! Remember that a vote for Donais is a vote for Wood. Let's reject him again by rejecting his followers.

Lumberjack's notes:

There is so much to unpack here. Please read all 15 pages, take a break, let it sink in and then re-read it a few more times.  Click here for a commentary on the key sections.

Here are the summaries of two official background checks on Scott Wood, JR. performed by the Haverhill Police Department on 1/13/2013 and 2/15/22. The information was obtained by a FOIA request to the MA DA's office.

HPD Background Reports.pdf

Eagle Tribune 9/18/23

Click here for full ET article 

"HAVERHILL — Mayoral candidate Scott Wood Jr. announced Monday afternoon he is dropping out of the race. At about the same time, Guy Cooper, who lost by just 10 votes to Wood in last week’s preliminary elections, filed a request with the city clerk for a recount. 

Cooper said he plans to continue with his recount request.

"The citizens of Haverhill need to know there was no fraud of any type in the preliminary election," he said. "I will continue to pursue my recount request to ensure the honesty and integrity of the election process – just as I would bring to the mayor's office."

Requests to drop out of the election had to be made by 5 p.m. Monday, as did recount requests. Wood said he filed his request to drop out with the city clerk.

The results of the city’s preliminary election are expected to be certified Tuesday when the Board of Registrars meets.

Breaking News: Wood Drops Out, Questions Still Loom

Lumberjack's notes:

Congratulations to Guy Cooper on benefitting from what appears, at face value, to be Wood's fear of facing an even larger drubbing in the final election. But more importantly, kudos for insisting on proceeding with the recount process. The Haverhill voters need to be reassured that there is nothing fraudulent going on with the latest preliminary election.

Amid some social media rumors of ballots not having all the mayoral candidates on them and with the larger backdrop of the national election scene fraught with election controversy, it is prudent and necessary to insure that voters at the local level have complete faith in the electoral process.

In light of Woods pattern of behavior as detailed in the HPD background checks, there may be a cause for concern when analyzing his last minute decision to withdraw. The police reports show a repeated pattern of ethical and professional transgressions whilst working in the capacity of a law enforcement officer. As detailed in the reports, Wood is repeatedly asked to leave or resign various positions or face formal reprimands and possible termination. Is this election withdrawal another instance of previous behaviors? I will let you draw your own conclusions.

HEA: ESPs and Teachers Do Not Be Fooled!!!

Lumberjack's notes 9/9/23:

Let me first start by saying that ESPs and Teachers are grossly underpaid and underappreciated given the critical jobs they hold. And our society is incredibly out of whack when a first year rookie in the NFL makes a minimum of $435,00.00, while 1st year teachers make less than 1/10 of that.

Suffice it to say that any support given to our educators and school system is a good thing but we must always question the motives and timing of such support.

Haverhill Gazette 8/31/2023 

In a statement issued on Friday, Aug. 25, Wood said he was proud to take a leading role in ending the litigation against the HEA.

"The teacher's union reimbursed the school department for the cost of the strike and it was time to end the litigation and unite as a community so our teachers can focus on what they do best, and that is to educate the next generation," Wood said.

WHAV  9/6/2023 

(Department of Labor Relations investigator, Carey D. Shockey's) revelation—that Wood drove the effort last October to seek more money from the union—made the recent vote all the more puzzling.

“During these conversations, Wood emphasized that the School Committee would not withdraw its court complaint and needed approximately $300,000 more in work stoppage costs covered to reopen the Haverhill Public Schools,” Shockey wrote.

BOTTOM LINE: Scott Wood is an unabashed hypocrite.

He has a 20 year track record of fighting educator raises and increased school funding because of his close relationship to Mayor Fiorentini and their shared political strategy of pitting the tax-payer against the needs of the school department. This most recent political stunt is a desperate attempt to gain the endorsement of the HEA and the votes of our hard working educators.


This is the lawsuit filed by Wood against the City of Haverhill while at the same time running for the highest elected office in the city. Absolutely bizarre.

Haverhill mayor candidate faces allegations of racism, misconduct.pdf

The Boston Globe recaps the sordid details of the ongoing Scott Wood saga.

Profiles in Cowardice: Both Donais and Wood pull papers to run for a second elected position on the final day to to do so because they are afraid they can't win the seat they really want.

Lumberjack's notes 7/22/23:

Both Scott Wood and Toni Donais are facing formidable challenges to their respective sought after elected seats. Wood's challenge comes from 6 other mayoral candidates, most notably, presumptive frontrunner, Melinda Barret and former Haverhill police officer, Guy Cooper, who is likely polling second behind Barrett at the time of writing. Donais is challenged by Gail Sullivan, top vote getter in her last school committee election cycle and because of the new  ward school committee rules Donais would be forced to run head to head against Sullivan as opposed to  running for 1 of 3 open seat like in the past.  So what does she do? Hedges her bets and pulls papers to run for Ward 2 City Council as well, doubling her chances at holding on to some form of power.

Even more contemptible is Scott Wood, running for the highest seat in Haverhill which he rapidly is realizing is out of his grasp. So he pulls the same maneuver and pulls papers for school committee in the newly re-districted Ward 4 where he feels his chance are much better going against 2 completely new candidates and 1 perennial candidate who has yet to be elected.

This shotgun approach would be laughable if it weren't so dangerous. Because there is no restriction on running for multiple seats, (conceivably Wood could run for mayor, city council and school committee), a candidate can cherry pick the weakest races and roll the dice on all positions with no repercussions.

We will have to wait until Tuesday, July 25 to see who actually returns completed signature forms to know what the ballot will actually look like but the simple fact that these two took advantage of this election loophole and on the last day to do so, speaks volumes about their character and motivations.

Follow the Money! Click Here to view Wood's campaign finance reports by month and for a summary of notable contributors and high dollar donations.

Lumberjack's notes:

There are a number of very interesting contributors to Wood's campaign and I've only just begun the descent into the rabbit hole. Please do your own research but I've tried to help get things started by providing relevant links which show some of the connections and backgrounds of his donors. You can draw your own conclusions!

Wood is claiming that the police background checks performed in 2013 and 2022 were full of lies and somehow not justifiably connected to him. Huh?

Lumberjack's notes:

The attorney for the City of Haverhill is clearly avoiding the controversial issues here. She is arguing against Wood's eligibility to be a police office based on his never having attended police or "bridge" academy. I'm sure she's threading the legal needle but the real reason why Wood was never hired as an officer in 2013 and was dismissed in 2022 was because of his questionable moral character as revealed by the two background checks. The City seems to be fighting this lawsuit on purely procedural grounds.

There needs to be a public outcry to get to the bottom of this "secret" deal from 2013.  Who agreed to it? Was it the Mayor? Was it the Chief? Was it the City Solicitor? Was the agreement in writing and if not, how was it memorialized? Who was in that room when the deal was cut? Wood knows.

Why in the world was Wood not held accountable for his statements and actions back in 2013 as a currently elected official? Any educator, administrator or employee of the school or City would have been immediately placed on administrative leave pending a full scale investigation. Yet this report and deal were buried by the powers that be and because of that the voters in this city were not privy to this critical information when it came to make a decision at the polls. Thus, ten more years of Wood on the committee and we are where we are today because of it.

Wood chairs meeting and votes on a motion in which he is directly affected. Mayor/Chair of School Committee is predictably absent during a controversial motion or topic.

"Ultimately, the motion failed to muster enough votes to pass with Committee members Gail M. Sullivan, Rosa and Magliocchetti in favor while Maura L. Ryan-Ciardiello, Donais and Wood against. Mayor James J. Fiorentini, chairman of the School Committee, was not present to cast a tie-breaking vote. "

Lumberjack's notes:

This is so outrageous on a number of levels. First and foremost; every time there is a controversial vote of any kind, the Mayor intentionally skips the meeting so as not to have to take a stand and thereby deadlocks the committe as Scott and his two cronies will always vote as a block. 

Second, is the fact that Ryan-Ciardiello is supposed to be chairing the meetings in the abence of the Mayor because of the rotating yearly assignement of the position of Vice Chair. But, because she regulary skips attending meetings in person she was not eligible to chair the meeting remotely so that duty fell on the longest serving committee member.

Third and most egregious is the fact that Wood did not recuse himself when a topic concerning him came up. Not only should he have passed the chair to the next ranking member but he also should have left the chamber during the discussion and vote. Also, if he believes that the details of the "secret" agreement from 2013 that was supposed to have been destroyed would vindicate him, why did he vote against bringing this information to the committee?  Something doesn't add up.

Wood shows weakness by taking no position on funding for new Consentino School.

"The two elected leaders running for Haverhill’s mayor also weighed in.

City Councilor Melinda E. Barrett said she is pleased by the voters’ choice and credited the work of Hartwell, Dix, Rep. Andy X. Vargas, City Council President Timothy J. Jordan, Mitchitson, School Committee member Richard J. Rosa and former Councilor Colin F. LePage.

“I supported them from the beginning and did whatever I could to help provide them with the resources they needed to win. If I am fortunate enough to be Haverhill’s next mayor, they are exactly the type of bright minds I hope to see have continued leadership roles in our community,” she said.

School Committee member Scott W. Wood Jr. did not take any position on the question, but noted supporters ran a “great campaign” and recognized the extra money meets immediate needs.

“It certainly will give us a little more flexibility this year. Obviously, the mayor had committed that, if the debt exclusion passed, the funding request by the School Committee for the total budget number he would be able to honor,” he said.

Wood sues the City of Haverhill for firing him from his police job.

"Reached by telephone Sunday, former Police Chief DeNaro backs Wood’s side of the story. He said “The mayor was very, very, very upset” about the original background check…In retrospect, he was correct.” Nevertheless, the city gave Wood “three years to mature up.”

Lumberjack's notes:

WTAF? Here is the verbatim statement  from the former Chief back on February 13, 2013. "As a result of the information contained in this background investigation, it is my recommendation that the city request Civil Service permanently remove this candidate from consideration as a Haverhill Police Officer now, as well as for future tests." Pretty strong words. What changed? Why has DeNaro switched sides to support Wood and is speaking out against the current Chief and most recent 2022 background check? Hmm...does it have anything to do with this? DeNaro is essentially admitting that a "secret" deal was indeed made back in 2013 and that the City withheld information that would have gotten any other City employee placed immediately on administrative leave. But instead, as an elected 2nd term school committee member, this infomration was hidden from the voters and general public and Wood was given "three years to mature up" while having unfettered access to Haverhill Public Schools and the student body. Stunning.

The original story as reported by WHAV

The original story as reported by WHAV

"Through public records requests, WHAV obtained the Jan. 26, 2013 background check by since-retired Deputy Police Chief Donald Thompson, a second background check by Haverhill Police Capt. Meaghan Paré, dated Feb. 15, 2022 and a summary of the allegations compiled by the office of former Essex County District Attorney Jonathan W. Blodgett.

Thompson’s report alleges “unprofessional and problematic behavior” including sending text messages calling Haverhill Mayor James J. Fiorentini a “Nigga Lover” and “Ass Monkey.” The follow-up on Thompson’s report by Paré also references Wood calling the mayor a “no good piece of monkey…”"

Lumberjack's notes:

Racism and misogyny have no place in our society and even less so in our elected body. The fact that the City's top officials knew about this back in 2013 yet chose to catch and kill this information speaks volumes about our leadership and paints a very dark picture of secret deals and a two tiered justice system for City employees and elected officials.