EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

February 22, 2013

Expanded Methuen health board should fix attendance problem

By Brian Messenger
bmessenger@eagletribune.com

---- — METHUEN — The City Council has approved two appointments to the Board of Health, completing an expansion from three to five members designed to fix attendance problems that prevented the board from holding at least five monthly meetings last year.

Karen Ferullo and Cherie Lynn Monahan are the new additions. Both were appointed by Mayor Stephen Zanni and approved by the Council on Monday. They will serve three-year terms that expire at the end of 2015. Ferullo lives on Sevoian Drive and Monahan on Pheasant Hill Lane.

Zanni told councilors on Monday that both women are nurses.

“They’re highly qualified,” said Zanni. “We’ll have a full board.”

Zanni first proposed the expansion from three to five members on Oct. 15, one day before the board’s cancelled October meeting was scheduled. At that time, attendance problems had prevented the volunteer board from holding five of its last seven monthly meetings.

The Board of Health held meetings in June and September of 2012, but failed to have a quorum at monthly meetings scheduled for April, May, July, August and October. The board went on to hold meetings in November and December but did not have a quorum in January.

The City Council approved Zanni’s expansion plan in November. The city began accepting applications for board membership soon after. In January, Gov. Deval Patrick signed a bill into law allowing for the appointment of two additional members.

Ferullo and Monahan join health board members Dr. Sudarshan Chatterjee of North Andover, Joyce Hersey of Myrtle Street, and Ray Wrobel of Tanglewood Circle.

One member on the Board of Health must be a physician. Methuen Health Director Brian LaGrasse said last year that Dr. Chatterjee is “extremely busy,” and has had difficulty attending meetings between running a private practice and family commitments.

But yesterday, LaGrasse said Hersey has recovered from back surgery and attended the board’s most recent meeting on Tuesday.

“She’s back in the rotation as well,” said LaGrasse. “We’re hoping to have four very active members.”