E-mails show Beverly, Mass. school official pushed to keep her husband employed


By Cate Lecuyer, reporter, The Salem News, Salem, Mass.

 A string of emails obtained by The Salem News through the state public records law revealed the lengths taken by Beverly School Finance Director Joan Liporto to keep her husband employed as the school maintenance director.

 The emails show Liporto tried to a block a move to merge city and school maintenance departments, told her boss she would quit if her husband, Tim, wasn’t hired to the new maintenance director position, and helped create a description for the job he was applying for.

 For a year, the Salem News heard whispers Liporto was trying to keep her husband, a plumber by trade, in the $72,921 salary position as the director of buildings and grounds, a position some said he wasn’t qualified for.

With nobody willing to speak on the record, the accusations were hearsay. However, through an unexpected connection we heard of an email that city Public Services Commissioner Mike Collins sent to the city solicitor’s office, requesting advice on how to respond to an email from Liporto about the buildings and grounds position. After a state public records request to the city solicitor, the Salem News had the email in a matter of days.

 The emotionally charged tone made it clear there was more electronic correspondence leading up to Liporto’s message, in which she tells Collins she’s “perplexed” he refused to support hiring her husband.

 The Salem News sent Liporto a state public records request for all emails she sent and received pertaining to the maintenance job and discovered a back-and-forth that clearly showed her advocating for her husband, and pressuring others to keep her husband employed.

 Liporto says she was advocating not for her husband, but against consolidating in general, because the current system worked so well. The fact that consolidating would abolish her husband’s interim position had no bearing on her decisions, she said.


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