To the editor:
I am writing in response to the article “Salem council wants to keep health board as is,” published Nov. 16, 2012. According to Massachusetts law, a city board of health should consist of three members, one being a physician, so when the current seven-member Salem board requested to reduce its size to five members, the City Council should have approved the request. The Salem board was originally expanded to seven members to oversee a hospital that no longer exists. Reducing its size now would allow the board to reach a quorum and make important decisions regarding public health. I would call for a further reduction in the size of the board to the three members directed by statute. This would steer the board members toward their primary responsibility: protecting public health, rather than becoming sidetracked with their own pet issues.
I respectfully request a meeting with the mayor, health board, City Council and solicitor together to discuss the matter further, as well as to discuss the parallel issue of regionalization for cost efficiency.
Retired certified health officer
Commonwealth of Massachusetts