, Salem, MA

June 28, 2013

Board members OK'd by council

Salem: New member added, stalled reappointments finally approved

By Bethany Bray

---- — And then there were five.

City Councilors approved the appointment of a new member to the Board of Health last night, as well as the reappointments of three long-serving members. Last night’s votes bring the number on the Board of Health — officially a seven-member committee — to five.

The board’s newest member is Sharma Alam, a Bridge Street resident who works for a Cambridge pharmaceutical company. She holds the equivalent of a doctor of medicine degree from a medical college in Pakistan.

The reappointments of Board of Health members Barbara Poremba, Gayle Sullivan and Martin Fair, as well as Planning Board member Randy Clarke, had been sitting in committee after City Councilors held off on accepting them April 11.

Wednesday — two months later — councilors held a meeting to discuss the four stalled reappointments. After a few questions and a brief discussion, councilors moved the four reappointments out of committee with a favorable recommendation.

Last night, the City Council voted unanimously to approve Clarke’s reappointment and 8-2 to approve Fair, Poremba and Sullivan’s reappointments.

Councilors Paul Prevey and Todd Siegel voted against the three Board of Health reappointments. The two councilors did not comment on why they did not support Poremba, Sullivan and Fair.

The size of the Board of Health has been a much-discussed issue in Salem throughout the past year. Proposals to decrease the board to five members, as suggested by Mayor Kim Driscoll, and three members — suggested by the Board of Health — have been put to the City Council and currently sit in committee.

A fourth Board of Health member, Danielle Ledoux, was appointed this spring to replace a member who had resigned.

Councilor-at-large Thomas Furey was absent from last night’s meeting.

Bethany Bray can be reached at and on Twitter @SalemNewsBB.