East Longmeadow has, by far, the least democratic method for selecting health board members.  Our health board, which has repeatedly imposed mask mandates on the town, is chosen by the unelected town manager.  Of the 23 cities and towns in Hampden County, only East Longmeadow and Palmer use this method for filling health board seats.

Every other municipality in the county gives residents a direct or indirect say in who will make and enforce their public health policies.  Here is a breakdown of the methods used for selecting health boards across the county.

Directly Elected by Voters:

Blandford – Bylaws, Article 2(b)

Brimfield – Bylaws, Section 4.1(E)

Chester – M.G.L. c. 41, § 1

Granville – selectmen serve as health board per M.G.L. c. 41, § 1. See also the town’s website.

Hampden – Bylaws, Chapter 2, §1

Ludlow – Bylaws, Chapter 1, § 6 and § 35

Russell – selectmen serve as health board per M.G.L. c. 41, § 1. See also countyoffice.org.

Southwick – Bylaws, Chapter 20, § 20-1 and Chapter 52, § 52-3

Tolland – selectmen serve as health board per M.G.L. c. 41, § 1. See also countyoffice.org.

Wales – Bylaws, Chapter 3, § 1, §§ I(a)

Wilbraham – selectmen serve as health board per Bylaws Article III, § 300(d)

Appointed by Elected Mayor:

Agawam – Municipal Code § 35-1

Holyoke – Code of Ordinances § 34

Springfield- See city’s website.

West Springfield – Charter, § 3-3

Westfield – Code of Ordinances Part I, Subpart A, § 6

Appointed by Elected Selectmen/Council:

Chicopee – Charter, Article 3, § 16

Longmeadow – Bylaws, Chapter 500, § 2-501

Appointed by Unelected Town Manager:

East Longmeadow – Charter, Article 5, § 5-4

Palmer – Charter, § 3-5(a)

I have put forward a proposed amendment to our town’s charter that would give East Longmeadow residents a direct choice when it comes to our health board members.  If adopted by the council, it will make our health board far more democratic and more in line with the other cities and towns in our county.

The East Longmeadow town council will hear my proposal on May 10, 2022.  If you support changing our health board to an elected body, please email the councilors and let them know!