FRAMINGHAM – About three months ago, on April 6, the 11-member Framingham City Council unanimously approved nine individuals to the City’s first-ever sustainability committee.
Created by the City Council on November 5, 2020, the purpose of the Framingham Sustainability Committee is to advise 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 Committee is tasked providing “recommendations to the Mayor, the Energy Task Force and Sustainability Coordinator by October 1 of each year in order to allow for the timely consideration of new programs and policies in the annual budget.”
The main reason why the Committee has yet to meet is that Mayor Spicer Spicer has chosen not to allow the Sustainability Committee to begin its work until July 1, 2021, according to a memo she wrote to the City Council.
Mayor Spicer could have chosen to make the appointments effective immediately after the Council’s approval, but chose not to do so.
The Mayor signed the ordinance approving the 9 committee members on April 15, 2021.
The Framingham Sustainability Committee’s recommendation should include also an “assessment as to the state of the city, in the area of Environmental and Sustainability initiatives, and (except for the first annual report of the FSC) the FSC’s assessment as to the progress made towards the FSC’s short-term and long-term goals since the previous annual recommendation was issued,” according to the 2020 ordinance.
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
Mayor Yvonne Spicer nominated nine individuals from 35 applicants.
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.
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.