The change in job title was suggested to clarify that the health agent is a department head.
Last night, neither measure carried. The council voted 7-3 against reducing the size of the board, with Councilors Joseph O’Keefe, Thomas Furey and Josh Turiel voting in favor.
The council voted 5-5 on the motion to change the health agent to health director. Councilor Paul Prevey was absent from last night’s meeting.
Turiel said he supported reducing the size of the Board of Health because they’re a supervisory body, not involved in day-to-day tasks, such as inspections.
“I don’t see any reason not to support this,” Turiel said.
Councilor Todd Siegel argued that having a larger board brings more sets of eyes, more ideas and “chances to think outside of the box” to each issue.
Other councilors argued the board will need all hands on deck to deal with the issue of medical marijuana, which was legalized in last week’s election.
“The last thing in the world to do is to go to less (members),” Councilor Michael Sosnowski said. “The more people we can get to look at a problem, the more chance we have at a solution.”
Bethany Bray can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @SalemNewsBB.