Scientist, researcher appointed to Marion Board of Health

Aug 14, 2019

MARION — Dot Brown will take a one year position on Marion’s Board of Health, where she hopes to use her science and research skills to be able to improve waterways and other important public health issues.

Brown has a degree in geology and works as a scientist and researcher. In her spare time, she helps monitor water quality in Sippican Harbor for the Buzzards Bay Coalition and serves as treasurer for the Sippican Lands Trust.

“All of the waterways in Marion are degrading in the recent past and there’s no sign that it’s getting better,” Brown said.

She explained that 70 percent of the loss in quality is due to nitrates in the water, which are not good to have.

As far as how to take action on those facts, Brown said that officials “just sort of have to start, bit by bit.”

She also hopes that the position will give her some insight into how the town works.

“I hear a lot of different contradictory statements on how the systems are working,” she said, adding “I would like to see some really good data” on it.

At the Aug. 13 meeting where Selectmen appointed Brown, Selectman John Waterman pointed out that the position is a one year appointment and asked if Brown would want to run. She responded that filling the elected position in 2020 is her goal.

“I agree with you that septic systems are a huge problem and we have to get a  handle on it,” Selectman Norm Hills said, after Brown’s interview.   

At a July 16 meeting, Selectmen talked with two other candidates for the position, Jayson Reynolds and Albin Johnson.

Reynolds, a pediatrician in Wareham, said he had worked closely with Elizabeth Dunn when he had served on the board in the past, and wanted to fill her spot when she resigned. He addressed a number of topics in his interview, including nicotine and opioids, which the board has discussed for the last few months. He also said he would not seek re-election.

Johnson is a real estate broker whose main concerns were the water quality in the harbor and sewer expansion. He said he would stick closely to the state’s guidelines for sewer systems.

Ultimately, Waterman thought that Brown “brings something that the other candidates did not.”

The Selectmen also appointed Meg Steinberg to the Historical Commission with little comment. They explained that the board still needs enough members to have a majority.