OP-ED: Is City Council Letterhead The Biggest Issue Facing Framingham?

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By Mary Kate Feeney

FRAMINGHAM – 40 million people out of work – nearly 25% in Framingham – more than 103,000 dead of coronavirus – 95 of our residents – and a necessary, revitalized civil rights movement and protests have occurred throughout our country for a week. And on Tuesday night, the Framingham City Council discussed letterhead. 

Residents, like myself, are begging our city government to collaborate, speak out on the issues facing our community, tackle the hard decisions and get the job done. Yet, there they are talking about letterhead.

Some Councilors haven’t said a word about the budget, but they certainly have an opinion on … letterhead.

Issues regarding their rules have had longer discussions than other major issues facing this community – like the revenues Framingham may or may not receive due to COVID-19.

I understand the need for process. Usually issues go to subcommittees for further debate and refining. But because some Councilors cannot get over their distain for certain Councilors, suddenly procedure and rules do not matter. 

This country is facing a crisis – spiritually, medically, economically – we look to our leaders for guidance, empathy and a way forward. Tuesday night’s meeting gave me, and many others who watched that meeting, anything but. It was embarrassing. And it is not the first time.

I am begging our Councilors to figure out how to work together, instead of trying to stunt the role of the Council, backstab their peers or prevent any sort of collaboration to happen. They all bring something to the table. Imagine what they could get done if there wasn’t such an obvious agenda to do anything but work. 

I realize I am lecturing. But I look around Framingham and I see this cancerous detestation being dragged on month after month, year after year, and it has totally seeped into our city government. 

People are unemployed.

Our local small businesses are struggling.

Parents are working from home while trying to home school their kids.

Teachers are doing the best they can to give their students an education and some sort of normalcy.

Senior citizens are worried about affording groceries or keeping their homes.

Our communities of color are hurting. 

Please check your priorities, Councilors.

After last night, I question if they are truly about Framingham.  When is enough, enough? 

Mary Kate Feeney, a lifelong resident of Pheasant Hill, is a former aide to Governor Deval L. Patrick.

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