FRAMINGHAM – In August, the 11-member Framingham City Council voted unanimously to reject Mayor Yvonne Spicer’s two nominees for the 5-member Framingham Parks & Recreation Commission.
Several Councilors expressed their disappointment that the Commission would have no representation from the southern part of the City of Framingham.
And last night, the City Council voted 7-4 to reject the Mayor’s nominees again. Voting with the Mayor was District 1 City Councilor Christine Long, District 2 City Councilor Cesar Stewart-Morales, District 3 City Councilor Adam Steiner, and District 9 City Councilor Tracey Bryant.
City Council Chair George P. King Jr. said the Mayor re-submitted the same names weeks after the Council unanimously rejected them nominees.
“This is the “Mayor stomping her feet because she did not get her way,” said King.
City Council Appointment Subcommittee Chair Phil Ottaviani Jr. made the motion to reject all the candidates.
District 4 City Councilor Michael Cannon said the vote did not reflect on the applicants, but on the mayor and the process.
District 8 City Councilor John Stefanini said it is only “:fair and equitable” that since a majority of the parks are on the south side of the city and the majority of the population is on the south side, that the south side should have representation on the Parks & Recreation Commission.
Phil Reitz served on the Parks & Recreation Commission in 2014 & 2015. He lives in the Warren Road neighborhood. Sandy Merloni was the last Commissioner who served South of Route 135 in 2005.
Stefanini said that this came back so quickly to the Council, with the same names, was an “insult” to the process.
King said while the Mayor as the executive branch of the City government has every right to nominate individuals, the process is supposed tobe collaborative, and that the Council, the legislative branch of government, has every right to reject the nominees.
On August 6, Mayor Spicer re-nominated David Gudejko, of District 1 for a 3-year term, and nominated Tony Tolson, a District 3 resident, for a 3-year term to expire on June 30, 2023. Tolson has been active in several youth sports programs over the years.
Rejected as a commissioner was District 8 resident Judith Grove, who spearheaded the City to create the first-ever skate park on Dudley Road and who has been advocating for a new park at Mary Dennison, for residents in District 9. Grove, a former District 8 City Councilor, has been advocating for the environmental clean-up of the lead-contaminated southside park, and for the southside neighborhoods to have access to parks.
The 5-member Parks & Recreation Commission has no members on it South of Route 9 nor South of Route 135, which has been an issued raised by the City Council, and raised by Grove when she was a City Council during 2017-2019.
Editor’s Note: The City lists Commissioner Hauck in District 1. She lives in District 3. So the proposed new membership is one from District 1, one from District 2, and three from District 3.
This is the second year in a row that Mayor Spicer has rejected an applicant from the south side of the City for the Commission.