SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

March 11, 2013

Health board asks to resize

7-member panel oversees 6 Salem employees; council rejected previous request

(Continued)

Now, Poremba said, the Board of Health supports repealing the 1972 amendment to state law that allowed the board to go to seven members.

“We really have no reason to have an expansion of the board,” she said.

Poremba stressed that the idea is coming from the board itself — not the mayor. The board asked Driscoll not to appoint anyone new until the issue is resolved, she said.

“We’re not political,” she said. “... It was very demoralizing not to have the City Council back us. ... We gave it a lot of thought and careful consideration. (This time) we want to make sure everyone understands what we’re asking for, and understands what we mean.”

A professor in Salem State University’s nursing department, Poremba has been on Salem’s Board of Health for more than a decade.

In November, when the board made its original request to the City Council, the Board of Health had five members. Since then, two people have left the board.

In a letter to the editor printed in the Salem News in November, Larissa Lucas, one of the board members who resigned, wrote: “The City Council decision showed no respect for our recommendation and has suspicious political motives, which I cannot begin to imagine.”

Members of the Board of Health are unpaid volunteers.

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

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