Framingham City Council Holds Partial-Remote Meeting

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FRAMINGHAM – Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Framingham City Council held a meeting tonight, March 17, with five of its members calling in and participating via telephone.

Six of the 11-member City Councilors attended the meeting in the Blumer room at the Memorial Building in person.

Their desks were spread apart, to practice social distancing.

All votes were taken by roll call.

The public was allowed to participate via a call-in number. More than a half dozen members of the public spoke that way.

While some legislative branches of government had been using ZOOM or video conferencing to meet remotely, the City of Framingham does not have a Zoom account, explained the City Council chair during the meeting.

The Framingham Board of Health voted unanimously Monday night to require all boards, committees, and commission to meet remotely during the coronavirus crisis, except for the legislative branch – City Council.

In attendance at the meeting was City Council Chair George P. King. Jr., At-large City Councilor Janet Leombruno, District 4 City Councilor Michael cannon, District 6 City Councilor Phil Ottaviani Jr., District 7 City Councilor Margareth Shepard, and District 8 City Councilor John Stefanini.

King said during the 3-plus hour meeting that he has asked the City to get a Zoom license so that Council could meet remotely.

Chief Operating Officer Thatcher Kezer III also was in attendance for the meeting and gave the City Council live updates on what the City of Framingham is doing during the Coronavirus crisis.

The City Council Chair had requested the Mayor or the City’s Health Director Sam Wong give an update to the legislative branch, but neither were available.

Under the White House and Governor Baker’s executive orders legislative branches of government are allowed to meet.

SOURCE requested to attend the meeting as a member of the press to document, with photos, the historic meeting. The request was granted by the City Council Chair and the City of Framingham.

There were never more than 10 individuals in the Blumer room during the meeting.

Mayor Yvonne Spicer closed the Memorial Building to the public on Monday.

SOURCE will have reports on the votes of the Council Tuesday night on Wednesday.

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