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Board of Health Changes Pass

Township Committee will absorb functions of formerly autonomous board.

Following a protracted and contentious discussion, the Township Committee passed the ordinance overhauling Springfield’s Board of Health on Tuesday, June 26. The vote was split across party lines, with the Committees three Republicans voting in favor and the two Democrats voting against.

With the vote, the Board of Health will be composed of the Township Committee members and two residents with expertise in public health. It replaces the seven-member autonomous board composed of volunteers that the township previously had in place.

The matter has been fiercely debated in since the changes were first proposed in May. The tensions boiled over at a packed Committee meeting that was frequently punctuated by applause and interjections from the crowd as well as flashes of emotions from the committee members themselves.

Prior to the public hearing on the ordinance, Township Administrator Anthony Cancro emphasized that the plan was his idea, and he put it in the context of other shared service agreements he had initiated while working for Springfield. 

Over a dozen residents expressed displeasure with the proposed changes during the public comment period, including former officials and members of the Board of Health. In his closing remarks, Mayor Ziad Shehady acknowledged the controversy but argued that in the long run the move would benefit the township. 

Bob Groder July 05, 2012 at 04:49 PM
well said margaret
Shane Ronan July 05, 2012 at 07:18 PM
I have to disagree with your statements about Mr. Keffer's tenure. While he may have let everyone speak, in my opinion rarely had an answer for their questions and simply shrugged his shoulders a lot, deferring most questions to the township attorney. What the town needs is strong leadership. And as happens with most strong leaders, there are going to be people who disagree with them. There wasn't a massive turnout against the change to the make up of the Board of Health, just like the wasn't a massive turn out for the turf field (although there were more people there for the turf field). Largely because the change is not material to most peoples lives and really has no effect on their safety or well being.
Bob Groder July 05, 2012 at 10:53 PM
shane i disagree with you there certainly a very good turnout who made that meeting compared to times when 8 people show up. thats just an inaccurate statement to say it wasnt massive. i didnt count the # but id say at least 75 people were there that night. if you compare it to the turf field vote for the people who were for it its not massive but when you compare it to a normal meeting that turnout was quite impressive. i also refuse to accept your statement that no effect on sometimes health being effected. this change has just happened. before anyone (including myself) can pass judgement this needs to have time to settle and see what happens in town. i even agreed once the change was made im giving it a pass to see how it pans out but to say noone is effected is just innacurate. the change just happened 9 days ago. the more i see you speak out which is your right the more i see you always taking the site of the current administration and they appear to do no wrong in your eyes. you were in that room and of the people who did get up to speak not a single person wanted the change to be made same with the senior center. i was kind of surprised that you didnt speak out in favor of the change. this was all about a power play and im glad im not in politics as i want nothing to do with it. ill be there as a tax paying concerned citizen as to how this town is being run.
Bob Groder July 05, 2012 at 10:53 PM
continuation of previous comment.... i dont agree with a word you said shane BUT i respect every word you said as thats what makes this country what it is which is to say we have the freedoms to speak out and agree or disagree with 1 another.
Bob Groder July 05, 2012 at 10:56 PM
1 other point shane. there is a big difference from being a strong leader and running a town or business like as a boss without listening to input from the very same people who elected the governing body. they heard the people speak but totally ignored the will of the people who showed up that evening. thats not being a leader if you ask me. we elect these officials to help everyone and not just the business owners in town.

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