FRAMINGHAM – The strained relationship between the executive and legislative branches of government in the City of Framingham is not improving.
Earlier today, the Mayor’s executive assistant was caught making derogatory remarks about one of the 11 City Councilors, via a hot microphone, and then the City of Framingham posted the conversation on the City’s YouTube account.
Jennique Horrigan, Executive Assistant to Mayor Spicer, called one of the City Councilors a “schmuck” and a “little runt.”
This is not the first time that employees in the Mayor’s office have made disparaging comments about City Councilors.
In November 2020, a series of text messages were made public in which the City’s Chief Operating Officer (COO) and the Mayor remark on City Councilors.
The hot microphone conversation today, April 29, took place at the end of the Mayor’s hour-long listening sessions called Reimagining Framingham Business – Post Pandemic, in which she invited Framingham business owners to log in to Zoom and participate in a conversation with the Spicer administration. The Zoom event was publicly advertised by the City of Framingham and its employees.
District 4 City Councilor Michael Cannon, who owns his own business, and is chair of the City Council’s subcommittee on economic development logged into the Zoom hour.
Cannon said he asked several questions in the chat feature, but no one on the Zoom call could see anything in the chat feature.
After the session ends the recording continues and at 1:07:30, you can hear Horrigan talking about Councilor Cannon.
“What killed me was Mr. Cannon flooding the chat room,” said Horrigan. “This isn’t for you. You are not a business owner. Let business owners talk. … which is why I turned off the chat 100%. There was no way to control him. … I had to shut it down for everybody.”
The conversation is clearly between the Mayor and her assistant, but only her assistant’s voice is loud and clear on the “hot mic.” Horrigan oversaw the Zoom call.
“So everyone who wrote in I will get answers to them for their questions. I also will send the link to anybody who signed in with a legitimate email address,” said Horrigan.
Councilor Cannon signed in to the Zoom event using his City of Framingham email address.
“The funny thing Cannon said early on make sure you save this chat .. send it to me .. I was like yeah okay fine,” said Horrigan. “That’s a records request. I’ll send it to him no problem. He’s just a “schmuck.”
“And literally as soon as he logged off I got a call coming in front an unknown caller that I know is Cannon,” said Horrigan. “I think that little runt got a burner phone cuz people stopped answering his real phone.”
When reached for comment, Councilor Cannon said ““It saddens me to see what a severely toxic environment Mayor Spicer has cultivated within her administration. Her words in public are diametrically opposed to her actions when she thinks nobody is watching. This is a well-documented pattern, and the people of Framingham deserve better. I will continue to advocate for our Framingham small business community, as I was doing today; and I remain hopeful that Mayor Spicer will begin to make different choices.”
Back in November 2020, in text messages between Mayor Yvonne Spicer and COO Thatcher Kezer III, the Mayor called the City Councilors “assholes.”
“Some of them I swear are some of the most disgusting human beings I have met,” texted the Mayor to Kezer.
In another text, she complains about City Councilors Robert Case and Margareth Shepard, two Councilors who typically support the Spicer administration agenda. The Mayor texts they are “disappointments.”
“This administration talks about collaboration and cooperation but they do nothing to foster it. In fact just the opposite. Be it the Mayor’s text messages, her refusal to regularly interact with the Council or this incident, it just shows a pattern of disrespect that betrays the words they utter about cooperation,” said City Council Chair George King Jr.
“I would like to think the Mayor would take decisive action to address this behavior, but stunningly this conversation was being had with the Mayor herself. You can’t say one thing publicly and keep doing the opposite when you think no one is looking and maintain credibility,” said King.
Watch and listen to the video uploaded to Youtube by the City of Framingham
The “hot mic” happens at 1 hour and 7 and half minutes into the recording. The recording ends about 70 minutes in.
Editor’s Note: Councilor Cannon provided a copy of the chat from the Zoom calls to SOURCE.
From Michael Cannon to All Panelists: 10:16 AM
Would you define how “working capital” is defined for EIDLs, and what “normal operating expenses” are excluded?
When will the City announce its long-term plan for outdoor dining? Other communities have long-ago secured plans, but when this matter has been raised with you, your COO, and the director of Economic Development, there has clearly been no meaningful action. Do you have an update?
From Amy Karibian to All Panelists: 10:17 AM
Would it be possible to please waive the field permit fees one more year so that my small business (yoga studio) can once again offer outdoor yoga classes on Victory Field without paying the $25 per day permit fee? This was extremely helpful for keeping our small business running during 2020, and we would love to be able to offer outdoor classes again for spring/summer/autumn 2021. I understand the permit fees have been waived for restaurants for outdoor space; can you please do the same for yoga studios? Thank you for considering. —Amy Karibian, Mystic Fitness, Framingham, MA
From Patrick Mosesso to All Panelists: 10:18 AM
I would like to post our job opportunities at Auto Bright Car Care. We have all shifts available, part time and full time. I have tried reaching out to Keefe tech for a student looking for mechanic experience and have not been successful. Is there any other job boards to list opportunities?
From Kelsey Roth – Exhibit ‘A’ Brewing to All Panelists: 10:21 AM
Kelsey from Exhibit ‘A’ Brewing: Is Framingham planning on following the state’s timeline for COVID restrictions? Or do you feel that we may keep some restrictions in place based on specific Framingham COVID numbers?
From Michael Cannon to All Panelists: 10:31 AM
You’ve foreshadowed dramatic water rate increases for small businesses. Is that still your plan? As small busineses evaluate whether than can continue or reopen in Framingham, they’re hearing about these increases to already-high rates (and taxes). What can you share to alleviate these fears?
Also, friendly reminder to preserve and forward the chat log. We’ll discuss these issues at the next meeting of the City Council Economic Development Subcommittee, which I chair. Thanks! That can be forwarded to me at email@example.com
Thanks to Beth Reynolds in Ashland for putting that info on the Ashland website. Can we put it on ours? Also, many of the business owners on this call don’t know Erika, and may not have her email address. Perhaps those details (with fewer acronyms) would be helpful on this call?
From Hannah Woit to All Panelists: 10:31 AM
From Michael Cannon to All Panelists: 10:34 AM
Do eligible business owners understand what “technical assistance grants” are? Maybe explain a little bit about how this can help them survive and thrive? There’s great info to share.
Very true, Mayor. Kudos to Elliot for incredible help with paperwork and application details. A superstar!
From Patience Noah Insurance LLC to All Panelists: 10:36 AM
This is Patience Noah and I’m a Framingham Alumni 🥳🥳🥳 graduated in 2008!
From Michael Cannon to All Panelists: 10:39 AM
KeefeTech is AMAZING! What a fabulous team mentoring outstanding young minds.
Mayor — Friendly reminder to touch on WATER RATES for small businesses. This is an area of MAJOR concern, and many are looking that as a factor of whether they can reopen or continue in Framingham.
Also, the grant that Erika spoke about, is it true that the deadline is today at 11?
From Kevin Shea to All Panelists: 10:39 AM
Hi, Nicole Leone here from The Branches of Framingham. We are finding it difficult to find employees even with on the job training programs that we are offering. Hearing what Shannon just had to say was a huge help and I will definitely be reaching out to Keefe.
From Michael Cannon to All Panelists: 10:41 AM
What a fabulous KeefeTech success story! Welcome home, Patience!
From Mary Kate Feeney to All Panelists: 10:43 AM
What are Framingham’s plans to support our local restaurants with outdoor dining?
Are there any plans to have a marketing campaign to draw attention to our restaurants and small businesses like many other communities are doing?
From Michael Cannon to All Panelists: 10:46 AM
Right, but this call is about “Reimagining Framingham Business – Post Pandemic” — so what is the plan for outdoor dining?
Other communities long ago secured those plans.
What is the deadline to apply for the grant that Erika mentioned? Is it truly today at 11?
From Susan Petroni to All Panelists: 10:46 AM
Businesses in Natick & Ashland pay lower taxes than in Framingham. Water & Sewer bills are high in Framingham. What can the City do to help businesses not only survive but thrive in the city?
From Kevin Shea to All Panelists: 10:47 AM
I would like to learn more about the financial programs available. Does the City website have the information?
From Amy Karibian to All Panelists: 10:48 AM
Yes! I had a great experience receiving resources. 2 x PPP loans; Framingham Small Business grant for 10k; and a Statewide grant as well. The help and support out there has been tremendous. The resources are out there, if you apply yourself.
From Jim Giammarinaro to All Panelists: 10:50 AM
Many banks in the chamber are still providing PPP loans. We can also advise on EIDL loans.
From Mary Kate Feeney to All Panelists: 10:55 AM
What can we do to encourage growth of remote working offices? We have a lot of empty office space and remote work is here to stay, but many people will want an affordable office space. Framingham can be a leader here. Venture X in Marlboro is a huge success. How can we do that, too?
From Hannah Woit to All Panelists: 10:57 AM
Survey in Spanish: https://www.framinghamma.gov/FormCenter/Office-of-the-Mayor-12/American-Rescue-Plan-Spanish-90
From Susan Petroni to All Panelists: 10:57 AM
putting information in the chat is not helpful as none of us can see the chat
From Hannah Woit to All Panelists: 10:57 AM
Survey in Portuguese: https://www.framinghamma.gov/FormCenter/Office-of-the-Mayor-12/American-Rescue-Plan-Portuguese-89
From Michael Cannon to All Panelists: 11:00 AM
Water rates? Taxes? Two MAJOR issues for Framingham businesses.
Do you have a plan to share? MWRA rates went up a fraction of a percent… you’ve forecasted MAJOR increases.
Taxes are driven by your spending. What’s the plan to protect the small businesses you’ve incited on this call?
From Frank Wood to All Panelists: 11:01 AM
How many days left until you resign?
From Kelsey Roth – Exhibit ‘A’ Brewing to All Panelists: 11:02 AM
Thank you Mayor!!
From Kim Sigler to All Panelists: 11:02 AM
Thank you Mayor Spicer & Team….appreciate the opportunity to hear your views on the future of Framingham and the support for businesses based in Framingham…we/Bose plan to move forward with a soft re-entry for a larger number of employees this summer and hopefully larger re-entry in the Fall so looking forward to be back working in Framingham very soon! Best
From Amy Karibian to All Panelists: 11:02 AM
Thank you, Mayor.
From Kevin Shea to All Panelists: 11:02 AM