By Charles Kelleher Harris
WEBSTER- The Board of Health convened to discuss the procedures for an emergency meeting.
According to Health Agent Cathleen Liberty, she has attempted more than once to establish an emergency meeting policy, but has met a road block.
“The [town] clerk insists that I can’t call an emergency meeting until 24 hours have passed,” Liberty said.
Liberty went on to say that the importance of calling an emergency meeting without having to wait would affect the services provided by the Board of Health. This includes cases involving the necessity of an immediate condemnation of a property, or even larger issues such as water contamination or a disease outbreak.
Town Administrator John F. McAuliffe, who was also at Tuesday’s meeting, said that while he understood the urgency involved, the board needed to exercise caution about calling emergency meetings.
“There is a very thin threshold for an emergency meeting,” said McAuliffe, “you don’t want to get into the habit of saying ‘This is an emergency.’”
“We should work on this and develop a plan,” said Board of Health member Nancie Zecco.
The board, along with McAuliffe, discussed the creation of an emergency meeting policy specifically designed for the Board of Health.
“By all means pursue an emergency meeting policy,” said McAuliffe.
“I want a list of what constitutes an emergency meeting,” said Zecco, adding, “I want to make sure we have a plan to specifically follow.”
Liberty, who has already done extensive research into the state statues on meeting policy, said that she was already working to design a plan for the board and would present it at the next meeting for the board’s approval.