LETTER: Zoning Board Members Should Have Experience; Appointment Process Inconsistent, Inadequate, and Not Transparent

FRAMINGHAM – As a lifelong resident of Framingham and one who is very involved in the community as a volunteer and elected official, I am very disappointed in what the Mayor’s office has done with the process of appointing boards and commissions.

The advertising for volunteer openings was inconsistent and inadequate. The process of applying to many boards was overly cumbersome and there was no transparency regarding how candidates would be screened and who would be responsible for that screening.

Additionally, the secrecy regarding who applied for positions was extremely disappointing from a mayor whose key campaign slogan was “transparency.”

At one point a citizen was forced to file a freedom of information request for information that by law should have been public. When his request was illegally denied by the City he appealed to the Secretary of State’s office who forced the City to release the information that the public was legally entitled to.

The amount of our tax dollars and paid manpower being wasted by an administration that puts secrecy before the public’s interest is very discouraging and a disservice to the people of Framingham and the Commonwealth.

And now the Mayor has decided that she wants to “shake up” the Zoning Board of Appeals by appointing mostly inexperienced members; some of whom haven’t ever attended a Zoning Board meeting.

That’s a shakeup for sure; but is it in the best interest of the residents of Framingham?

The Zoning Board of Appeals is a quasi-judicial board with powers that can resemble a court of law or a judge’s powers.

Would we want to see the Governor appoint a judge who held a law license but had never been in a court room or even practiced law?

Additionally, the Mayor herself took no part in the interview process for one of the most important boards she has appointing authority over. More than one candidate stated that fact at the Council’s Appointments Committee meeting.

I commend the Council’s Appointment’s Committee’s courage to make a recommendation that would surely be controversial but was in the best interests of the people of Framingham.

The Zoning Board of Appeals holds a great deal of power—the members should hold commensurate experience and expertise.

Ricky Finlay

District 2

Framingham

Framingham Source Editor Susan Petroni

Susan Petroni Framingham Source Editor Email: editor@FraminghamSource.com Phone: 508-315-7176

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