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Council votes charter changes

BOH to become five elected, recalls easier

October 05, 2011
SOUTHBRIDGE — It was heated, confused and even darkly humorous, but the Town Council finally tackled the proposed charter changes more than two years after the review process started.

Now the proposals go to the Legislature for approval, but do not become law until local voters approve them at the ballot, hopefully next spring.

As expected, one of the most debated items involved changing the Board of Health, with a 5-4 vote coming down on the side of making it a five-member elected panel. The item came up initially as a five-member appointed board, but Councilor Laurent "Butch" McDonald moved to make it three members elected as the Charter Review Committee had proposed a year ago. He switched it after Councilor David Langevin indicated he couldn't support three, but would support five, elected, and residents Raciel Fernandez and Amelia Peloquin promoted the concept from the podium.

"The Board of Health is just as important as the Town Council or School Committee," Peloquin said. "This is a position that's too important to not be directly accountable to the people of Southbridge."

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

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