Select Board Discusses Board of Health Vote on Town’s COVID-19 Response

December 22, 2020

Select Board Chair Ed Pierce, in a written statement at Monday’s board meeting, labeled last week’s vote by the Board of Health to be a participant in the day-to-day affairs of the town Covid-19 Task Force affairs as an “overreach of the authority….to involve itself in the staff management of the town and its schools.”

But after describing “the repercussions” from last week’s decision, Pierce announced that the Board of Health a few hours earlier Monday had rescinded its vote.

Pierce invited his Select Board colleagues to comment on the matter, engendering some observations about those repercussions, and communication in general.

Margot Fleischman noted that she was at the Board of Health meeting earlier that evening. “I think there was a good discussion on their part of what had transpired and an understanding of the unintended consequences,” she said.

“I think the situation has brought to life the importance of open-form of communication in our community,” Bill Moonan said. “We, as a board, need to figure out a way to address [the people’s] concerns and, in many ways, their misunderstanding on what’s going on because we all know that’s how rumors begin.”

Emily Mitchell responded to Moonan’s call for increased communication as diverging from the Board of Health’s actions. Last week’s vote “has led to a lot of mistrust, confusion, and angst,” Mitchell continued. “We need trust in our public officials more than ever.”

Moonan emphasized that he agreed with Mitchell’s assessment and did not mean to sound as if he dissented.

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