OP-ED: Stewart-Morales Refutes Ethics Violation Allegations

FRAMINGHAM – I am writing to address the public allegation made this week that I “may” have violated the state ethics law when voting on the FY21 Framingham City Budget.

The allegation is based on the false premise that “Stewart-Morales’ mother’s salary was included in the line item for the Framingham Public Schools.”

My mother does work for the Framingham Public Schools and is an employee of the Food Services Department. The fact is, however, that the Food Services Department is not included in the Framingham Public Schools’ operating budget because the department is self-funded. The Framingham Public Schools’ FY21 Budget Book describes this fact as follows: “The Office of Food Services is a ‘self-funding’ entity that operates financially independent from the school district’s budget and does not rely on any district funding to operate. It relies on revenue solely generated by the department and deposited into its revolving account as well as the receipt of state and federal funds under the School Lunch Program… Fully self-funded, the Office of Food Services does not have an impact on the operating budget.”

The truth is, that as a City Councilor, I have no influence over the wages, hours, and working conditions that my mother experiences and cannot impact her financial interests. It is so far removed from the work of the Council.

I have worked my entire life to uphold the values of strong ethics and integrity. I know that is why so many voters in District 2 chose me to represent them on the City Council.

In order to ensure that full transparency exists in the public record on this matter, I have decided to file a statement with the City Clerk summarizing the fact that no conflict of interest exists as it relates to my mother’s part-time employment at the school cafeteria and my responsibility to vote on the school budget.

If you have any questions on this or any other matter, please feel free to reach out to me directly.

Cesar Stewart-Morales (he/him)
Framingham City Councilor, District 2
(508) 250-0503
cs@framinghamma.gov

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