METHUEN — The City Council has cleared the way for the expansion of the Board of Health from three to five members.
The change — first proposed by Mayor Stephen Zanni and approved Monday by the council — is designed to fix attendance problems that have prevented the volunteer board from holding five of its last seven monthly meetings.
The last two Board of Health meetings were held in June and September. The board failed to have a three-member quorum at monthly meetings scheduled for April, May, July, August and October.
The city is now accepting applications for board membership. Methuen Health Director Brian LaGrasse said he hopes the board will be expanded to five members by the beginning of 2013.
LaGrasse said the addition of two members will help ensure the board has a quorum while also encouraging more discussion.
“It’s going to work really well,” said LaGrasse. “More ideas, more discussion, more input is always welcome.”
Zanni first proposed the expansion from three to five members Oct. 15, one day before the board’s cancelled October meeting was scheduled. The City Council on Monday approved the measure 8-1, with Ron Marsan voting against it.
The Board of Health is comprised of Dr. Sudarshan Chatterjee of North Andover, Joyce Hersey of Myrtle Street, and Ray Wrobel of Tanglewood Circle. Members serve three-year terms.
LaGrasse said Hersey has been unable to attend meetings after undergoing back surgery earlier this year and is not expected back for several months. LaGrasse said Dr. Chatterjee is “extremely busy,” and has had difficulty attending meetings between running a private practice and family commitments. One member on the Board of Health must be a physician.
Residents interested in applying for the Board of Health can fill out a talent bank application on the city’s website.
The Board of Health is scheduled to meet again Nov. 20.