FRAMINGHAM – The legislative branch of the City of Framingham voted unanimously Tuesday night, March 16, to expand the Framingham Board of Health from 3 members to 5 members.
The next steps in the process is for the Mayor to sign on to the ordinance, and for Mayor Yvonne Spicer to request the Massachusetts legislature and the Governor to approve the change.
In 2016, Town Meeting voted to expand the Framingham Board of Health from three members to five. But when Framingham went from the largest town in the Commonwealth to the newest City in 2018, the Board reverted back to a 3-member Board, as the City’s charter repealed the special act increasing the board’s membership.
“We definitely welcome the opportunity to have more voices on our board, to have more diverse viewpoints,” said Board of Health Chair Gillian Carcia.
The proposal to increase the City’s Board of Health from 3 to 5 members, was made by District 8 City Councilor John Stefanini. It then went to the City Council’s Public Health, Safety, and Transportation subcommittee, chaired by at-large Councilor Janet Leombruno for review. That subcommittee signed off on the expansion and brought it back to the full Council.
The Framingham Board of Health also unanimously supported the expansion.
Expanding to five members would allow the Board of Health to discuss time-sensitive issues with scheduling a public meeting, as with five members the chair of the Board of Health could confer with the Vice Chair or with another member, and two members does not constitute a quorum, under the state’s Open Meeting Law.
With a 3-member Health Board, any conversation between any two members could violate the state’s Open Meeting Law, which prohibits a quorum of members of a public body from conducting business outside the public view.