Framingham Council Unanimously Approves Mayoral Appointees To First-Ever Sustainability Committee

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FRAMINGHAM – The Framingham City Council on Tuesday night, April 6, unanimously approved all nine individuals nominated to the City’s first-ever sustainability committee.

The Sustainability Committee was created by the City Council with the purpose of advising how to improve the sustainability of municipal operations as well as support residents and local businesses in reducing waste, improving energy efficiency, adopting renewables, conserving water, and much more.

The Mayor nominated nine individuals from the 35 applicants by the deadline.

“After a complete review of applications and conducting interviews from a pool of 36 candidates, I present to you nine nominations for the Sustainability Committee. Candidates were interviewed by the Citizen Participation Officer, Sustainability Coordinator, and the Recycling Coordinator. Their recommendations were then reviewed and approved by the Mayor for appointment,” said the Spicer administration in an email to the City Council.

Editor’s Note: A Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request showed 35 applicants by the deadline. Mayor’s office said Mayor chose from 36 applicants.

The City Council’s Appointment Subcommittee unanimously recommended the nine nominees to the full Council.

It did appear that none of the nominees were notified by the City that the Council’s subcommittee at 6 p.m. nor the full Council at 7 p.m. were voting on the nominees.

District 2 resident Larry Stoodt, one of the nine, said he did not know about the meetings or the process, and that no one reached out to him from the Mayor’s office nor the legislative branch.

The Sustainability Committee’s purpose of advising the Mayor on how to improve the sustainability of municipal operations as well as support residents and local businesses in reducing waste, improving energy efficiency, adopting renewables, conserving water, and much more.

The new committee members approved are:

  • Aimee Powelka – District 1
  • Donna Kramer Merritt – District 1
  • Erin Ellsworth – District 3
  • Larry Stoodt – District 3
  • Emma Rothwell – District 4 – Youth member, under age 18
  • Jaime Haber – District 4
  • Donald Grose – District 6
  • Melissa Yu – District 6
  • Sean Bilodeau – District 8

Applications came from every District in the City except Districts 7 and 9.

There were 7 applicants from District 1, 5 from District 2, 9 from District 3, 7 from District 4, 2 from District 5, 3 from District 6, and 2 from District 8.

Thirty of the applicants identified as white, said the Mayor’s office.

Mayor Yvonne Spicer has chose not to allow the Sustainability Committee to begin its work until July 1, 2021, as her memo to the Council doesn’t have any of the appointments begin until then. She could have chosen to make the appointments effective immediately, and did not.

About the new Committee members

Yu of District 6 holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Bioengineering and has 10 years of experience as a Quality Engineer in the medical device industry. Her experience in the engineering field will contribute to the committee from a technical and scientific perspective. Yu will serve through June 30, 2022.

Bilodeau of District 8 holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Sustainability Management, has experience in landscape design and construction, and currently works at Charles River Medical Associates. Bilodeau will serve through June 30, 2022.

Kramer Merritt of District 1 is the co-founder and president of the Framingham Earth Day Festival. As the owner of a wellness business, Donna’s perspective as a business owner and community organizer will be valuable to the committee. Kramer Merritt will serve through 2023.

Stoodt of District 3 is a founding member of Sustainable Framingham and has served as an advocate for the environment and sustainability in various capacities. He is a member of 350 State Legislative Team, chair of the Framingham Democratic Committee’s subcommittee on Environment, and member of the Massachusetts Chapter Sierra Club. Stoodt will serve through June 30, 2023.

Grose of District 6 has experience in residential and commercial building design, construction, development, land use planning, and energy efficiency. Donald is a LEED Accredited Professional BD+C (U. S. Green Building Council) and serves as adjunct Faculty at Boston Architectural College. Grose will serve through June 30, 2023.

Powelka of District 1 has eight years of experience in energy efficiency programs including the Green Communities program of DOER, the state energy office, and with the Mass Save programs. Aimee is currently a Senior Analyst at MassEnergize, a non-profit dedicated to helping communities engage their residents to take climate action. Powelka will serve through June 30, 2024.

Ellsworth of District 3 works for PayPal and has experience organizing community initiatives through the “PayPal Gives” program. Erin coordinated a sustainability project for her organization in Newton which replaced trash receptacles with a combination of trash, recycling, and composting bins. Ellsworth holds an MBA with concentrations in Information Technology & Technology Marketing and is a Framingham Government Academy graduate. Ellsworth will serve through June 30, 2024.

Haber of District 4 has twelve years of experience in energy efficiency in Massachusetts, including roles in smart-growth planning, the Mass Save Home Energy Services Program, commercial building energy efficiency, and the Mass Save Renovations & Additions program. He has a Master’s in Community Development from Clark University, where he researched smart-growth affordable housing, and is training for the Home Energy Rating System (HERS) Rater certification and Massachusetts Home Inspector’s license. Haber will serve through June 30, 2024.

Rothwell of District 4 is a junior at Framingham High School (FHS). She has served as president and vice-president of the FHS Environmental Club, interned with Energize Framingham, and is a member of the National Honors Society. Rothwell is nominated to serve as the Youth member of the Sustainability Committee, effective July 1, 2021 and through June 30, 2022. .

editor

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