Mayor awaits Aldermen on Board of Health
By Gordon Dritschilo
Staff Writer | July 18,2013
Mayor Christopher Louras said this week he has no plans to make any appointments to the Board of Health.
The board has been vacant for some time, and two names put forward by the mayor failed to win confirmation last month. While Louras could resubmit the names or offer new ones, he has not done so — in fact, one of the candidates withdrew from further consideration.
“I would love to present additional nominees to the board,” he said. “However, based on their previous actions, I’m not sure it would be a worthwhile endeavor. Let’s just leave it at that.”
The Aldermen are considering reconstituting the Board of Health with a mission of advising city officials on environmental and public health issues — a discussion spearheaded by Alderman Gary Donahue due to his dissatisfaction with the public debate over disinfection of the city water supply.
Louras said that discussion brought to his attention that the Board of Health was sitting vacant and that he was required by charter to fill it. Though his nominees were initially cleared, Donahue successfully called for a second vote in which they were rejected.
In the absence of mayoral nominees, the Board of Aldermen has the authority to fill the positions, but Donahue and others have said they did not want to make appointments to the board prior to deciding what they want the board’s role to be.
The Charter and Ordinance Committee is scheduled to discuss the board again Monday. Chairman William Notte said he doubts a proposal will emerge from the discussions.
“Given the limited role a reconstituted Board of Health would have in city government and given the amount of rewriting of the charter it would take to have a Board of Health as envisioned by Alderman Donahue, I have to suspect the committee will talk about this one or two more times, but I personally suspect we will decide we don’t need the Board of Health as Gary has envisioned it,” he said.