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On May 10, the East Longmeadow town council will consider my proposal to change our health board into an elected body.

My previous attempt to reform the health board was rejected by the town’s attorney who claimed that

State law requires that members of a board of health in a city (in this context, any municipality without a town meeting) be appointed, rather than elected.

(To read the town attorney’s letter in its entirety, click here.)

Despite the town attorney’s claims, Massachusetts’ law allows cities and towns to select health boards however they deem fit–whether by appointment or by election.

Here is a summary of the pertinent laws:

Local Charter ProceduresHandbook by the Secretary of the Commonwealth

[M]ost provisions concerning local government structure, officers, terms, and method of selection are automatically consistent with state law.

A charter adopted by home rule may provide: that any particular local office…

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