The city's Retirement Board on Tuesday suspended a hearing to determine whether former Highway Superintendent James Flaherty will lose his city pension after conviction on a felony charge of stealing from the city.

The new date for its decision is Sept. 8.

The board had already suspended Flaherty's pension temporarily pending Tuesday's hearing.

The Retirement Board also was to decide on Tuesday whether Flaherty's son, Kevin, would have to repay more than $3,000 in interest from his retirement fund.

The hearing was suspended until Sept. 8 at 9 a.m. The time away will give hearing officer Christopher Connolly time to draft a recommendation.

After the decision, the Flahertys may appeal to the Haverhill District Court, said Sacco.

James Flaherty, 67, and Kevin Flaherty, 37, were convicted in June on felony charges of larceny over $250 for stealing paving materials from the city to use on private jobs.

Meanwhile, on Monday, the disciplinary hearings for four firefighters accused of sick-time abuses concluded after two days of testimony.

Hearing officer Michael Marks has five days to make his recommendation to Mayor James Fiorentini, who has ordered a five-day suspension for each of the four unidentified firefighters.

Fiorentini will have the final say on the suspensions, regardless of Marks' recommendation.

The firefighters were videotaped performing strenuous activities or attending sporting events, said Fiorentini.

The videos have not been shown publicly.

Paul Weinburgh, president of the Haverhill firefighters union, declined comment.

Firefighters entered and left the room in a large group, making the identification of the four fighters in question impossible.

Fiorentini said a final decision could be made within the next five days depending on when he receives Marks' recommendation.

"I will be reviewing the tapes myself and when I get the recommendation from Marks I will act," Fiorentini said.

Fiorentini said he has never met Marks but said his track record shows he is a fair hearing officer.

"I have no clue who he is personally. I couldn't even pick him out in a line-up," Fiorentini said.

Fiorentini authorized hiring a private investigator, at a cost of $13,000, to check out allegations of sick time abuse last year. The investigator videotaped the firefighters who called in sick in December. The video shows the firefighters moving furniture, climbing a ladder and shoveling and plowing snow, Fiorentini said.

The suspensions are scheduled for September unless the firefighters prevail at the hearing.

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