, Salem, MA

Local News

April 6, 2013

Salem councilor calls for timely board reappointments

SALEM — SALEM — A majority of city boards and committees are operating with members whose terms have expired.

According to the city’s website, just two boards — the Bike Path Committee and the Parks and Recreation Commission — have no members with expired terms.

It’s a practice that has been going on for years, said City Councilor Paul Prevey.

Prevey, the Ward 6 councilor, plans to introduce a city ordinance that would require board members be replaced or reappointed within a certain amount of time, possibly 90 days, as their term expires.

“I feel it would be better, all around, for the people who sit on boards and how our government operates,” said Prevey. “... We want to make sure we’re showing the attention that’s needed to the boards, and one of the ways we can do that is make sure their terms are up to date.”

Prevey brought the issue up at last week’s City Council meeting, and his colleagues voted to send it to the council’s committee on ordinances, licences and legal affairs for discussion. A meeting has yet to be scheduled.

In Salem, the mayor selects and recommends residents for appointment to non-elected boards and committees. The City Council votes to give final approval of each appointment.

Prevey said appointed board members are staying one, two, even three years past their term’s expiration date. In essence, they’re serving a double term without having to come before the City Council for reappointment.

“Once a term expires, the (mayoral) administration should submit a person for reconsideration, or a new person, ” Prevey said. “This is certainly not an attack on the current administration. This has happened with past administrations, too.”

Mayor Kim Driscoll could not be reached for comment Friday.

Timely reappointments would bring more accountability and keep boards from becoming stagnant, said Prevey.

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