New Bedford Board of Health and the Residency Rule [OPINION]
The legal and political battle between New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell and Parallel Products is about to take another twist and become more complicated.
Parallel Products wants to expand operations in the New Bedford Industrial Park. The project will bring more than $50 million in private investment to the city along with an estimated $1 million dollars in additional taxes and approximately 100 jobs to the region. The project will also result in more truck and car traffic to the industrial park and the trucks will be filled with various types of waste products.
This expansion project is going to be approved by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and then it is going to go to the New Bedford Board of Health for approval or rejection.
Earlier this year, the New Bedford City Council finally passed an ordinance overhauling the residency requirements for some city employees and all appointees to local government boards. Mayor Mitchell vetoed the ordinance, but his veto was overridden by 10 of the 11 councilors.
The members of the Board of Health are now governed by this ordinance. Only city residents can serve on the board and that means two of the three current members are either going to move to the city from Dartmouth, or Mayor Mitchell will eventually have to find two new board members to serve.
The board is currently all medical doctors and even though two members live outside of the city, they have deep roots in the city. Are there any medical professionals who live in the city and are willing and able during the COVID-19 pandemic to serve on the Board of Health?
Chris McCarthy is the host of The Chris McCarthy Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 10 a.m. to noon. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @Chris_topher_Mc. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.