Editor’s Note: The 11-member City Council and the 8-member School Committee will meet on March 2 to vote for a School Committee member for District 2 to fill the seat vacated when Karen Foran Dempsey died on December 24, 2020. There were five applicants for the seat by the deadline, but now there are four applicants as one withdrew. The candidate with a majority of the votes gets the seat through December 31, 2021.
FRAMINGHAM – Dear School Committee and City Council Members, I am writing to express my support for Ricky Finlay’s appointment for the District 2 School Committee seat that is vacant due to the tragic death of Karen Dempsey.
I have had the pleasure and privilege of working with Ricky in multiple capacities over the past many years. He is a true public servant.
When Ricky was on the School Committee previously, he always put the interests of Framingham’s children first.
Even before he was elected to on the School Committee in our first city election, he began to shepherd the policy eliminating athletic and other student fees through the school administration and School Committee. Because of Ricky’s hard work and dedication to our children, no student in Framingham is denied access to extracurricular programs or sports activities because of fees.
Ricky is a team player. He works hard and he does his homework. He thinks creatively and makes decisions based on what’s best for the not only our children but for all of the people of Framingham.
Framingham has received two brand-new state-of-the-art handicapped accessible playgrounds due to Ricky’s efforts.
Had Ricky not driven the Hoops for Homework Kaboom project to fruition; Kaboom never would have considered coming back to donate a second playground to the McCarthy elementary school. He also helped secure community block grant funds to contribute to the Barbieri playground a few years ago to make sure that every child had the ability to utilize the new facility.
When there was a long-time impasse between the members of the history center community and disability advocates, Ricky was the one who found the prototype that we used to design the new Village Hall ADA compliant entrance which then finally enabled the full renovation of Framingham’s first Town Hall that majestically overlooks our center common.
The most important things that Ricky has to offer the School Committee right now, during the most trying times our community and our country have ever faced; are experience and the ability to listen to all parties.
Ricky has been on our School Committee twice and will be able to hit the ground running as we deal with the most challenging budget our community has ever faced. These times are unprecedented and we need seasoned leaders to help guide us out of them. There is no time for a learning curve right now. The people of District 2 and the rest of Framingham needs someone who can roll up their sleeves on day one and help move us forward. Ricky Finlay is that person.
Ricky puts other people before himself. That’s what real leaders do.
If you recall, a year ago, he was one of the Salute to Framingham Honorees. That was something I know he considered one of the greatest honors of his life. Before the decision was made to cancel the event, Ricky asked that it be cancelled due to the newly emerging pandemic. And that was before actual lockdowns were being publicly discussed in Framingham
Ricky loves Framingham and he loves our people and he didn’t want to see anyone get sick due to an event where he was being honored. That’s just one example of Ricky putting others first and making a decision that’s best for the community at his own expense. Those are the types of things that Ricky Finlay has been doing for the people of our community for decades and I’m sure will continue to do.
We need Ricky Finlay back on our School Committee. Of all years, this is the one that it’s most important for our leaders put our community before politics. Our students and the people of Framingham must come first.
The residents of District 2 will do well with his representation on the School Committee and the rest of us will be lucky to have him continuing to advocate for everyone.
Cheryl Tully Stoll
Former Chair of the Board of Selectmen and Former Framingham City Councilor At Large