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Will it be 3 or 5?

Dormant health board debate resurfaces

June 07, 2010
SOUTHBRIDGE — Last week's resignation of two Board of Health members revitalized a long dormant debate over whether the board should have three members or five, with the issue weaving around several other items at Town Council Monday.

After several citizens opined in favor of the smaller board, Councilors Richard Logan and Steven Lazo agreed the issue should go to the General Government subcommittee for more detailed discussion. That will happen after Town Manager Chris Clark gets attorney Rob Caprera's review of the issue's history and the prior attorney's opinion supporting the increase.

"From my review of that record, it was a reorganization proposed by the Town Manager [then, Clayton Carlisle] and ultimately approved by the Town Council," Clark said.

Nobody debates that, but Lazo said he recalls the situation this way: Carlisle told the council the board needed an alternate to make quorum, "and the alternates turned into permanents."

At issue is the fact the Charter calls for a board of three members, but the bylaws now have five members. It grew to that number gradually — It had three people until July 2005, when Rene Tremblay was added, and Dean Cook joined in July 2007.

Cook has said he's not seeking reappointment when his term expires June 30, and Tremblay resigned unexpectedly after the board's last meeting with a year left in his term. That would leave three members — Dr. Thomas O'Leary (since July 2002), Rinaldo Bernardone (since Oct. 2003, with a brief break last year) and Ann Fenwick-Beinema (since last August).

See Wednesday's Southbridge Evening News for complete coverage of community news.

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