FRAMINGHAM – When the Memorial Building opens on Tuesday, June 1, it is unlikely to be staffed at 100%, according to the spokesperson for the Spicer administration.
In March of 2020, Mayor Yvonne Spicer closed the Memorial Building to the public when the COVID-19 pandemic began. It has since re-opened but has been at 50% staffing and only recently at 100% its pre-pandemic hours.
On Saturday, May 29, Governor Charlie Baker lifted the last of the COVID-19 restrictions on businesses and government, which means that all could re-open at 100% capacity at full hours.
SOURCE reached out to the Spicer administration and asked if that meant the Memorial Building would be at 100% staffing and full hours as of Tuesday, June 1.
Framingham Chief Information Officer Kelly McFalls said “The limit of 50% staffing in an office area is also lifted. However, it is recognized that there are still concerns and challenges for many of the staff, such as having access to sufficient daycare facilities, or for those with, or living with others, who have health issues. Additionally, COVID has taught us that we can maintain or even improve productivity through flexible accommodations for remote working.To the extent practicable for divisions and departments, we will work to maintain flexibility for remote working. It is up to our leaders to manage staff to best deliver services to the public as well as meeting our collective bargaining requirements.”
City Council Chair George P. King Jr. and at-large City Councilor Janet Leombruno have both been advocating for the City of Framingham to re-open its front facing services to the public, as the Governor has relaxed and lifted restrictions.
City Council will hold its first in-person meeting in a year on Tuesday night at 7.
“I think we have learned that some occupations may in fact lend themselves more easily to remote work. In my mind public service is not one of them. With the state of emergency ending, people in public service roles should be back in their positions. If the Mayor does not fully staff city services that are being paid for, she is not honoring her fiduciary duties,” said City Council Chair King.
“If we truly believe some positions can be done remotely, then we need to establish the positions under said terms and compensate accordingly. But the positions we have now are designed and compensated to be in person, and with the emergency over they should be,” said at-large Councilor King.
“Since the Governor has lifted the emergency order it is time to re-open City Hall,” said Leombruno. “there is absolutely no reason that we should not be staffed at 100%. If we feel that we can run on reduced staff, may we should visit that as a cost-saving option.”
The Memorial Building, often called Framingham City Hall, is open Tuesdays from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. It is open on Mondays, Wednesday and Thursdays from 8;30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and open on Fridays from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
For most of 2021, when the Memorial Building re-opened the Spicer administration closed an hour earlier than the scheduled hours and cited the need to clean due to COVID.