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July 17, 2013

Health board mulls lawsuit

(Continued)

Health board members last night said they want a transition plan from the mayor and Community Development Director William Buckley by next Tuesday.

The board then intends to meet with Zanni and Buckley July 30 to discuss the transition plan before scheduling a meeting with the City Council.

Monahan said the transition plan must include cost estimates for a number of outsourced services, including mosquito population monitoring, septic system inspections and the hiring of an on-call nurse.

Such outsourcing will be necessary given the loss of LaGrasse and Ewing’s reduced hours, board members said.

“As we’re talking I’m seeing dollar signs and dollar signs and dollar signs,” said Wrobel. “There’s a lot of ramifications with this action.”

Without a health director in Methuen, Monahan added that the area could be at particular risk for mosquito-borne diseases, since neighboring Lawrence does not participate in a regional mosquito control program like most other communities.

Also last night, the health board unanimously approved a resolution requiring a full-time health director and full-time nurse.

Later in the meeting, Monahan responded to city councilors’ public comments last week that health board members were using scare tactics to sway public opinion against the budget cuts.

“I wasn’t trying to scare anyone,” said Monahan. “I was just trying to be factual about the loss of this position.”

Also attending the meeting was LaGrasse, his wife and another family member. LaGrasse said he worked his last day for the city June 29.

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