A history of success managing a previously troubled DPW department earned Michael Stankovich the title of Haverhill DPW director on Jan. 2.

Stankovich is a 23-year veteran of public works management and for the past nine years he has been DPW director in North Attleboro, a department with problems until he took the reigns.

Stankovich's ability to turn that scandal-ridden agency into a functioning system was attractive to Haverhill Mayor James Fiorentini, which is not surprising since former Haverhill DPW superintendent James Flaherty, and his son Kevin, a former foreman in the department, are being investigated by Attorney General Martha Coakley. The Flaherty's allegedly used city resources to do their own private paving jobs. James Flaherty retired in April 2007 and Kevin Flaherty was fired the following June. Other DPW workers still employed by the city are also under investigation.

Sadly, none of this is foreign to Stankovich.

In 1998, when Stankovich took over in North Attleboro, that department was in similar disarray and he turned the department around.

"In nine years, he turned a troubled department into a top notch public works department, recognized as one of the best in the state," said Fiorentini of his newest hire. "Mr. Stankovich turned around North Attleboro and I am confident he can do the same in Haverhill."

Stankovich began his professional career in 1979. He was city forester in Houston, Texas; superintendent of forestry and grounds, street superintendent, fleet superintendent and team leader of the Public Works Department in Oak Park, Illinois; deputy public works director in Keene, N.H.; then he served in North Attleboro.

Stankovich holds a bachelor's degree from the State University of New York's College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse and a master of business administration from the Keller Graduate School of Management in Chicago.

In Haverhill, Stankovich will oversee the Highway, Parks, Water, Wastewater and Engineering Departments, following a proposed reorganization plan by Fiorentini.

He starts his new position Feb. 4, and already has goals he hopes to accomplish. He spoke with The Haverhill Gazette:

Age: 51

Birthplace: Albany, N.Y.

Hobbies: Hiking, downhill skiing, golf.

Community involvement: On call duties and government night meetings occupy most of my free time.

What do you like most about your job? Management of multiple disciplines such as water, wastewater, traffic, transportation, highway and solid waste in an ever changing regulatory, political and fiscal environment.

What do you like least? Snow removal operations at 3 a.m. typically under the worst weather conditions of the year!

What do you hope to accomplish? Facilitate the centralization of DPW operations, heighten customer service, and incorporate business principles and practices into DPW services.

Proudest accomplishment: Having the support of family and friends and being in a profession I truly enjoy.

Best thing about Haverhill? Its reputation as a community moving forward, good city government and excellent geographic location.

Worst thing? I have not been in Haverhill long enough to form an opinion on that.

Family? Presently single.

Do you have pets? No.

Type of entertainment preferred: Sports

Favorite actress: Julia Roberts

Favorite actor: Robin Williams

Favorite film: "The Departed"

Favorite sport/team: The Red Sox, Patriots and Celtics.

Favorite magazines: In order to keep up with the latest practices and current events, I read about 10 trade journals a month and three newspapers a day.

Kind of music: All kinds

Favorite book: "Patriot Reign"

Idea of a good vacation: Skiing in Colorado

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