One of the first major recommendations made by City Manager Edward M. Augustus Jr. when he became Worcester’s chief executive in 2014, was to reorganize the city’s public health functions and change the Board of Health from an advisory board to a regulatory one.
It gave the board the power to deal with all local public health issues, effectively cutting the City Council out of the equation.
The move was hailed by its supporters because they said it would remove the politics that had prevented the city from effectively addressing public health issues in the past.
Since the Board of Health was reconstituted and given greater powers, it has indeed done many good things and taken on many difficult public health issues. What made the board so effective was that its members worked so well together and with public health officials.
But that has all changed in recent months.