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Health board vote tonight

Council to mull 3-vs.-5 charter issue

June 20, 2010
SOUTHBRIDGE — In some people's eyes, the Town Council will be getting a chance to correct a long-standing error tonight.

After lengthy debate Thursday, the General Government Subcommittee unanimously recommended voting to rescind former Town Manager Clayton Carlisle's "reorganization" of the Board of Health from three to five members in 2004. Immediately on that vote's heels, the council will also vote on requesting the charter be changed to actually define the board as having five members.

That change can be made legal by seeking special legislation or sending it to the ongoing Charter Review Committee for adoption. If the council does the latter, town attorney Robert Caprera still has to determine whether the council can approve the changed charter or it has to go to a ballot vote.

As the town bylaws now stand, Caprera wrote, current Town Manager Christopher Clark needs to seek two people "forthwith" to fill Board of Health seats being vacated by Rene Tremblay and Dean Cook.

Caprera said he did not look at the circumstances surrounding the 2004 reorganization in too much detail because he was asked "to discern what our controlling documents" say about the Board of Health's current structure.

"I took a look at the documents and, candidly, I thought it was clear, it was simple," he said. "… It seems to me it was very foresightfully drafted … not a static document."

For more on this story, please see Monday's Southbridge Evening News.

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