FRAMINGHAM – Framingham Mayor Yvonne Spicer wants the Framingham City Council to adopt the Mullin Rule for additional boards & committees beyond the Framingham Planning Board.
On Thursday night, the Framingham City Council voted 11-0 for a second hearing of the statutory exemption to the Mullin Rule extension to apply it to the Zoning Board of Appeals, the Conservation Commission, the Framingham Board of License Commissioners and potentially the Board of Health.
According to City Solicitor Christopher Petrini, the Mullin Rule is an appeals court case that allows “if you are a member of an adjudicatory board and hearing a case where you’re performing quasi-judicial functions […] if you miss one meeting, you’re not actually allowed to vote.”
The exemption would allow a board member who missed one meeting of a hearing to still vote. The absent board member would be required to view the video of the meeting or listen to the audio recording that they missed.
In 2014, Framingham Town Meeting allowed for the statutory exemption, but only the Planning Board wanted to participate in the Mullin Rule exception at that time.
Since becoming a city, the Mayor has requested the ZBA, Conservation Committee and Board of License Commissioners be added to the authorization.
“What can happen if you lose more than one board member, you could have a situation where the board could actually be prevented from taking action on it,” said Petrini. That is why he believes it is in the city’s interest that as many boards as possible take advantage of the Mullin Rule exception.
Framingham City Councilor at-large Cheryl Tully Stoll questioned why the Board of Health was not on the list.
Petrini said that he hadn’t asked them if they want to be part of the statutory exemption, but he will, as they perform adjudicatory functions.
“Let’s close that loop, it’s a good question. And, if they want to participate in this, we should take advantage of that in one shot,” said Chair Dennis Giombetti.
Petrini will ask the Board of Health if they wish to be added before the second reading.