North Adams narrows search for new Board of Health director


NORTH ADAMS — The city has narrowed down its search for a new director of health to succeed James O'Brien, who resigned last month.

After interviews with multiple candidates, the city will interview a remaining finalist later this week before deciding on an appointment, according to Mayor Richard Alcombright.

In O'Brien's absence, part-time Sealer of Weights and Measures Mark Vadnais has taken on O'Brien's duties, Alcombright said. Should he choose not to make an appointment from the current pool of candidates, Alcombright said the city could call on the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission's Berkshire Public Health Alliance for inspection services.

O'Brien gave city officials notice that he was accepting a position elsewhere several weeks in advance and, at the city's request, stayed on through the weekend of FreshGrass Festival at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art to ensure inspections continued, Alcombright said.

"I did ask him to rethink it," Alcombright said, "but this is a decision he made for [himself] and his family."

Alcombright credited O'Brien with leading the city's Board of Health through its recent decisions to raise the city's minimum tobacco purchasing age to 21 earlier this year and endorse a syringe exchange.

"He certainly took some tougher issues in with the Board of Health," Alcombright said.

The city listed the position shortly after O'Brien announced his intention to resign.

Contact Adam Shanks at 413-496-6376


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