As a citizen and business owner in Pepperell, I am very concerned about the status of the Board of Health services in Pepperell. For many years we had a model department, employing our own agent and nurse, receiving backup from Nashoba Associated Boards of Health. Having worked in home care and real estate in many local towns, the services in Pepperell far exceeded other towns in quality and timeliness.
During the past few years I have seen this service deteriorate. All but one employee, the town nurse, have left. I feel their resignations were due greatly to their treatment by the Board of Health and the town administrator. Some have not been replaced and those who have were not replaced by an equally competent person.
Now, the final employee’s job is being jeopardized by the proposed contract with the Nashoba Associated Boards of Health.
If this contract is entered into, the town will suffer. Looking at the member towns, it is evident that each health agent is not always available to the town, covering several towns. The nursing service may have a primary nurse assigned to the town but the reality is that there are any number of nurses who may show up, when they have the availability.
If you are thinking that we can receive equal service for equal money, you are fooling yourself but not the residents of Pepperell.
I have attended the last two Board of Health meetings and am concerned, if not appalled, by a few things:
* The town administrator, not the Board of Health, is negotiating the contract with NABH.
* The town administrator appears to be determining what positions will be posted and filled.
* The board last year effectively eliminated any chance to hire a health agent.
* Something occurred during the most recent contract negotiation with Nashoba Nursing Service and Hospice which the Pepperell Board of Health does not comprehend.
* The Pepperell Board of Health continues to allow the town administrator to do their staffing in spite of the crisis.
Given the events of the last few years, I wonder if it was not the intent all along to join NABH, in spite of the town’s best interests.
I also will note that I was not allowed to speak at last night’s open meeting. I will continue to voice my concerns.
Environmental Division, Employee List:
Bridgette Braley R.S.: District Food Inspector; health agent for the towns of Ayer and Dunstable. BBraley@nashoba.org.
William Brookings R.S.: Health agent for the towns of Berlin, Bolton and Lancaster. WBrookings@nashoba.org.
Kalene Garbarz: Health agent. KGarbarz@nashoba.org.
James Garreffi R.S., CHO: Director; health agent for the towns of Boxborough, Littleton and Lunenburg. JGarreffi@nashoba.org.
Ira Grossman R.S.: Environmental administrator; health agent for the towns of Harvard, Littleton and Shirley. IGrossman@nashoba.org.
Rick Metcalf: Health agent for the towns of Ashby, Ashburnham and Townsend.