For the Second Time, City Council Rejects Mayor Spicer’s Nominees For Framingham Disability Commission

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FRAMINGHAM – For the second time, the 11-member Framingham City Council rejected Mayor Yvonne Spicer’s nominees for the Framingham Disability Commission.

The first vote in August to reject all three nominees was 9-1-1. District 2 Councilor Cesar Stewart Morales voted no and District 7 Council Margareth Shepard abstained from the vote.

There had been outrage, that Mayor Yvonne Spicer had chosen not to re-appoint one of the founders of the Commission, Karen Foran Dempsey, who is now a School Committee member in District 2. (Under state law, at least one member of the Commission must be an elected or appointed official.).

The Mayor then chose to resubmit the exact three same nominees, one month later on September 5.

Last night, September 15, the vote was 9-1-1, again.

District 2 Councilor Stewart Morales voted no and District 9 Council Tracey Bryant abstained from the vote.

Chair of the appointments subcommittee & District 6 City Councilor Phil Ottaviani Jr. proposed the motion to reject all the candidates, and have the Spicer administration re-submit names to the City Council for the three openings.

At-large City Councilor Janet Leombruno, who is Dempsey’s sister seconded the motion. She said she was “baffled” by the Mayor’s choice to re-submit the names and not to re-appoint her sister.

District 3 City Councilor Adam Steiner said the decision was “more egregious.”

District 4 City Councilor Michael Cannon said the vote had no reflection on the three nominees the Mayor submitted.

City Council Chair George P. King jr. said while the Mayor as the executive of the City has every right to not to appoint people, the appointment process is supposed to be collaborative process, and it has not been.

King said by Mayor Spicer resubmitting the exact same names after the first vote, she was “stomping her foot or playing politics to change the vote.”

There were six applicants for the three openings on the Framingham Disability Commission.

On July 23, Mayor Spicer re-nominated Current Disability Commission chair Ricky Finlay, from District 2 and nominated District 4 resident Meghan Todd for the two 3-year seats, and nominated District 4 resident Tyler Terrasi for a 2-year term to end on June 20, 2022.

Co-founder of the Framingham Disability Commission Karen Foran Dempsey found out she was not nominated when an email went out to the City Council listing the three new nominees. District 6 City Councilor Ottaviani Jr. said that was not right. He said when Mayor Spicer chose not to re-appoint him to the Framingham Zoning Board of Appeals he received a personal phone call from the Mayor.

Until the Council approves the Mayor’s nominees for the Framingham Disability Commission, the current members with expired terms Finlay and Dempsey, continue to serve.

The Mayor’s last appointment Andrew Cummings, whom the Council approved unanimously earlier this spring, has never attended a Framingham Disability Commission meeting, based on the minutes of the 5 meetings since he was approved. Cummings told SOURCE he had computer issues, but he has been in touch with the chair. Finlay as chair, said he has provided Cummings with how to participate in the remote meetings by computer and by phone.

Finlay said the 7-member Commission has, at times, struggled to meet a quorum of 4 members for meetings. During the pandemic, all meetings must be held remotely.

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