FRAMINGHAM – On May 3, in the middle of the budget season for the City of Framingham, it was announced that long-time Framingham Chief Financial Officer Mary Ellen Kelley would leave the Spicer administration at the end of the fiscal year.
The fiscal year ended in June. The Mayor’s first term would end in December.
And Mayor Yvonne Spicer is in a battle for re-election.
And this week, Kelley joined the Spicer mayoral re-election campaign, as its fifth treasurer since 2017.
Kelley, who sold her house in 2020, is an Ashland resident.
According to documents on the Massachusetts Officer of Campaign & Political Finance, Kelley joined the Spicer campaign on Tuesday, July 27, 2021.
Her last day with the City of Framingham was Wednesday, June 29.
Kelley is the fifth treasurer with the Spicer campaign since she ran for Mayor in spring 2017. The other treasurers were Dan Lampl, Stella Karavas, Jeff Ross, and former SIFOC member Mahmood Akhtar.
According to documents in the City of Framingham’s FOIA portal, Kelley’s last paycheck with the City of Framingham was issued on July 9, and included close to $20,000 in vacation and sick time buy out.
Kelley had recommended to the City Council that the City hire an interim CFO for the start of Fiscal Year 2022, which began July 1.
The City Council instead opted to have the assistant CFO become the interim CFO.
Under the City Charter, the Chief Financial Officer serves “coterminous with the term of the Mayor.”
On a talk show, Kelley recently said that the citizens of the City are not better served under a Mayor & City Council form of government.
“They are certainly not better served,” said Kelley, the day before her last day on the job. She served for more than 15 years in her role.
“Now we deal with the Mayor and the City Council, and the legislative body is there all the time,” said Kelley to The Audrey Hall talk show.
She complained about all the time and effort it takes to get information to all the people who make decisions – a Mayor, and the 11 City Councilors.
Kelley said the new form of government has lessened the “scope of communication.”
She said they are just 11 people as the legislative body and “there are not a lot of diversity there.”
Kelley said there was more diversity of opinion with the 200+ Town Meeting members than the 11 City Councilors.
One thing the new City Council does under the Charter is bring an equal voice to all 9 districts in the City. Prior to the new City form of government all the members of the Board of Selectmen and the majority of the School Committee all lived north of Route 9, and the Town Meeting members in Precincts 13-18, which now are Districts 7-8-9, were not always filled. Under the City form of Government each District get one seat. And then there are two at-large Council member seats on the City Council to make up the 11.
Kelley, told Hall, a former Ways & Means Chair with Town Meeting, that there were more questions from Town Meeting than with the current City Council.
Kelley said she hoped that the City elections would be more “robust” and more people would run.
In 2021, five of the 9 Council seats on the ballot are being challenged.
Ironically, some of the Councilors who are the most vocal critics of the Spicer Administration are unchallenged in this year’s election.
Two of the 9 current Councilors decided not to seek re-election but 7 District Councilors are seeking re-election, and four of them are running unopposed.
Kelley said in 2019 she wrote somebody else in as she did not like the person who would have been her Council representative where she lives in Framingham.
In 2019, Kelley lived in District 3, and was represented by City Council Vice Chair and City Council Finance Subcommittee Chair Adam Steiner. He ran unopposed in in 2019. He is being challenged this term by Mary Kate Feeney.