Framingham COO Serving as ADA Coordinator, Interim Health Director, & Soon Interim HR Director

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FRAMINGHAM – The City of Framingham’s Chief Operating Officer Thatcher Kezer III is Mayor Spicer’s right-hand-man. And is taking on even more responsibilities.

Besides the responsibilities of the #2 job in the City of Framingham as COO, the former Amesbury Mayor is also the ADA (Americans With Disabilities Act) coordinator, and since last week, he is now the interim Health Director.

And soon he will be the interim Human Resources Director for the City of Framingham with the departure of Dolores Hamilton on September 8, if not sooner based on vacation time usage.

SOURCE emailed the COO for a statement yesterday, but as of 4:30 p.m. today, September 2, no response.

It is unclear what qualifications Kezer has to be health director or human resources director. SOURCE requested that information from the City.

Deputy Health Director Alex Depalo had been officially serving as the City of Framingham Interim Health Director since February 26. But, per the City of Framingham charter, an individual can only serve as interim for a maximum of 6 months.. Her last day as interim was August 25.

But tonight, the City Council is expected to vote on making Depalo the permanent health director for a 3-year term.

On August 10, Mayor Spicer nominated Depalo to be the permanent director for the City’s health department.

As the appointment comes in the final year of the Mayor’s 4-year term, the vote requires a 2/3rd approval of the City Council or 8 of the 11 City Councilors.

Mayor Yvonne Spicer’s first nominee was rejected by the Council in June.

Only four Councilors wanted to hire her – District 2 City Councilor Cesar-Stewart-Morales, District 3 City Councilor Adam Steiner, District 7 City Councilor Margareth Shepard, and District 9 City Councilor Tracey Bryant.

The City of Framingham is still dealing with the coronavirus pandemic and has been without a permanent health director since December 2020, when Sam Wong resigned. Wong emailed the City’s legislative delegation including Senate President Karen Spilka, and the three Framingham state representatives to announced his resignation.

SOURCE broke the news of his resignation, but the Spicer administration then decided to spin the departure of Wong as a leave of absence through the end of February.

But Wong when he left in December 2020 was never coming back, according to internal emails.

With Wong gone, Depalo was in charge of the department as deputy health director. Later she was given the official title of interim health director in February 2021, when the Spicer administration announced Wong was not coming back to the City of Framingham.

Wong eventually took a job with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Kezer was hired as the City’s first-ever Chief Operating Officer in March 2018.

The Spicer administration said his 25 plus years of experience working with and for government at the state, regional and local level, and recently served as a Senior Vice President for MassDevelopment overseeing the redevelopment of Devens, made him a great fit for Framingham.

Kezer held previous positions with the Edward J. Collins, Jr. Center for Public Management, was the Mayor for the City of Amesbury from 2006 through 2013, and Director of Purchasing and Contract Administration for the City of Beverly.

He is a retired as a Lieutenant Colonel in the Massachusetts Air National Guard, previously serving in the United States Air Force.

Kezer has had a rocky relationship with the City’s legislative branch of government since he took the post.

The relationship got worse when a FOIA request by SOURCE uncovered text messages in which the Mayor and the COO discuss specific City Councilors.

Lately, Kezer has been interrupting City Councilors when they speak, especially combative with the District 4 City Councilor, and not following through on information when requested by the legislative branch of government.

Kezer was hoping to become the Town Manager of Dracut in 2020, but was rejected.

editor

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