FRAMINGHAM – Taxpayers have purchased the newly-elected Mayor of Framingham a new burgundy Ford Explorer, with leather seats.
The vehicle, which went into service for the Mayor’s office on February 1, has non-government license plates registered to the Framingham Police Department.
Source first saw the new SUV parked in the Mayor’s space at the Memorial Building, the night of the State of the City address on Monday, February 5.
Source made a Freedom of Information request on the non-government license plates to the Framingham Police Department last week.
The Police Department today, Feb. 12, confirned the plates are owned by the “Town of Framingham /Police Dept.” and that the vehicle is “not a patrol vehicle.”
Framingham Police said today the vehicle is “assigned to the mayor’s office.”
At more than $42,500 the vehicle cost more than the per capita income for residents in the City of Framingham, according to the latest federal census figures.
The money for the $42,500+ vehicle came from the City of Framingham Facilities Department.
The facilities department is responsible for the “maintenance, operations and utilities of all ctiy owned building and grounds,” and other responsibilities, including the “efficient operation of all environmental systems, including custodial services, waste removal, paper recycling, snow removal and grounds maintenance.”
That same department is where Mayor Spicer identified some funds to create and hire two new senior advisors for her department.
Spicer hired Jacquetta Van Zandt as the senior advisor for external affairs. She was Spicer’s “scheduler” during the mayoral campaign. Van Zandt started on January 22, with a “starting rate of $41.22 or $80,382.12.”
Spicer hired Nadia Ullman as her senior policy advisor. Ullman was expected to start on or after February 1, and is scheduled to only work part-time, at “an hourly rate of $42.05 for approximately 30 hours per week or $65,591.60.”
About $100,000 has been removed from the facilities department budget this year for the new Mayor, by the new Mayor.
Former Town Manager Bob Halpin, who is now working as a special advisor to the Mayor, was given a black sedan, with non-government plates, when he was Town Manager. It was negotiated into his contract by Selectmen. The Mayor chose not to take the Town Manager’s former vehicle.
The Mayor has no contract with the City of Framingham. She was overwhelmingly elected by voters in November 2017 to a 4-year term.
Mayor Spicer makes the same salary as the former Town Manager – about $189,000 – per the City Charter.
It is not known why the Mayor did not take one of the more than 200+ vehicles already in the City of Framingham fleet, but chose instead to use taxpayer’s money to purchase a new vehicle at Framingham Ford on Route 9. She visited Framingham Ford, accompanied by at least one Framingham Police Officer.
Framingham Source emailed the Mayor’s office for comment.
No response has been received as of this publishing. Source will add comment, if and when it is received.
The Mayor of Marlborough drives his own vehicle, but the City does pay for his gas.
The Mayor of Waltham uses her own vehicle, and does not use a city-owned vehicle.
The Mayor of Braintree also drives his own vehicle, and has not had a city-owned vehcile issued to him.
The City of Framingham will pay for the gas for the new Ford Explorer, assigned to the Mayor’s office.
The Mayor’s 12-member transition team did not mention the need for a city-owned vehicle for the mayor, but did discuss a security detail.
On page 6 of the transition report, it reads “it is the Team’s recommendation that Mayor Spicer decide how she wants to get around the
City; a city vehicle or her personal one, and that she consider an accompanying security detail.”