Dr. Harrison Pierce Re-Elected Chair of Well being & Human Companies Fee

Angelena Iglesia

Members of an advisory city physique that helps oversee New Canaan’s Well being and Human Companies Departments final week re-elected a outstanding retired pediatrician as their chair.

Dr. Harrison Pierce Re-Elected Chair of Well being & Human Companies Fee

Dr. Harrison Pierce at Dunning Stadium for the Turkey Bowl, on Nov. 24, 2016. Credit score: Michael Dinan

Dr. Harrison Pierce, who took on the function of chairing the Well being & Human Companies Fee weeks amid some controversy and weeks previous to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, was unanimously re-elected on the appointed physique’s Jan. 5 assembly.

Requested by Commissioner Peter Campbell to debate his priorities for the subsequent yr, Pierce stated the group would “proceed just about as we’re,” whereas additionally noting that the Fee additionally was in search of to outline its function.

“I do know there are some various sentiments,” Pierce stated on the assembly, held at City Corridor and through videoconference. “I believe some individuals perhaps really feel just a little annoyed that we aren’t doing greater than we’re doing. The truth is that once I first got here on board I assumed that I’d be doing extra with the Fee. However I believe if we undergo this dialogue, we are going to see that the function of the Fee is to offer oversight and recommendation and we’re considerably restricted as to what we will do going ahead.”

Fee Secretary Alyssa MacKenzie and members Campbell, Tom Ferguson, Jim Lisher, Russ Barksdale, Alicia Meyer and Barb Achenbaum voted in favor of his re-election. 

MacKenzie additionally was unanimously re-elected as secretary through the assembly. The organizational portion of the assembly was overseen by First Selectman Kevin Moynihan.

The primary selectman thanked Pierce for his service, calling him the “proper man on the proper time for COVID” and saying he valued the pediatrician’s recommendation.

Pierce has obtained extensive reward from Well being Division workers members for his work through the pandemic, together with time he has taken to assist run vaccine clinics for youngsters. Along with Well being Director Jenn Eielson, Pierce has helped advise city businesses in addition to New Canaan Public Faculties relating to its insurance policies throughout COVID-19. He has persistently advocated in favor of insurance policies relating to mask-wearing, even within the face of opposition from some on the town. 

Barksdale stated that the latest months have been “actually thrilling for the Fee.”

“So long as we’re nonetheless specializing in setting priorities and having extra of a management function—as in comparison with sitting right here and listening by way of shows and never having an energetic dialogue that we’ve had within the final couple of months, I believe have been worthwhile,” Barksdale stated.

“And it’s onerous after we’re restricted to solely the final 10 minutes to having an open dialogue about setting priorities and setting suggestions to the City Council, to the Board Selectmen,” he continued. “I believe so long as we’re shifting in that route, talking for myself, I believe that might be a really, very optimistic change that we might make in enhancing our mission, if you’ll. Our Constitution is about out however I can’t keep in mind the final time that we had a proper presentation to the Board of Selectmen by way of us all voting collectively.” 

Barksdsale stated that “rubber-stamping the identical donations each single yr with out setting priorities is one thing that I want to see modified going ahead” whereas additionally noting that it’s tough to make time as an all-volunteer group.

“We’re all placing in a unprecedented time and studying and energy making ready for our conferences,” he stated.

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