BOT becomes health board, absorbs duties

SOUTH ORANGE, NJ — The South Orange Board of Trustees members will soon take over as the Board of Health. The trustees voted March 14 to pass an ordinance on second and final reading that dissolved the board and allowed the BOT to absorb its responsibilities.

The BOT voted 5-0 — Trustee Jeffrey DuBowy was absent — to pass Ordinance No. 2016-03 on second reading, with the Board of Health’s approval.

As previously reported, the decision was made to confer village BOH responsibilities on the trustees, which will operate similarly to the Maplewood Township Committee, for the sake of efficiency. Collum said at the ordinance’s first reading Feb. 22, and again March 14, that the BOH constituted a lot of oversight for a relatively small department. The village only has two full-time health employees — the animal control and the health officers — but there were 16 people overseeing them between administrators and Board of Health members.

Trustee Mark Rosner also pointed out at both meetings that the BOH sometimes had trouble getting a quorum, and was only able to meet seven times in the past 12 months, when there should have been 12 meetings.

The BOH members were supportive of the change, with former BOH President Dean Kameros agreeing that the change is right for the village.

“Personally, I think the transition of Board of Health administrative responsibilities to the Board of Trustees makes sense for the reasons they articulated,” Kameros previously told the News-Record.

In the future, the village is working with the former BOH members to see that they are still involved with the village’s health, whether in an advisory or volunteer capacity.

Collum previously told the News-Record that the board would likely be taking over BOH responsibilities in early April.