Q&A With Framingham Mayoral Candidate Charlie Sisitsky

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Charlie Sisitsky

Which pronoun do you prefer? He/Him/His

Occupation: After finishing my studies at WPI in Civil Engineering, I completed my Master’s Degree in Community Planning from the University of Rhode Island and became the Planning Director in Medford, where I served for ten years. I later took over as the Planning Director for the Town of Natick, where I eventually also became the Town’s Director of Public Works – a position I held for over 20 years while also holding elected positions and volunteering in the Framingham community.

Years lived in Framingham: 50

Family: Wife, Robin Kaye, 4 children, 2 stepchildren, all graduates of Framingham Public Schools, and 8 grandchildren, 3 of whom are current FPS students.

Do you speak another language? No

Political Website or Facebook page link: https://charlieforframingham.com/

QUICK questions

The best run department in municipal government are Police & Fire Departments and Inspectional Services.

Crime in Framingham has (increased, stayed the same, decreased) since 2018

My favorite place in the City of Framingham is whatever sports field my grandchildren happen to be competing on that day.

City of Framingham is (ahead of the curve, making progress, or behind its neighboring communities) when it comes to environmental issues.

Since becoming a City residents are (more engaged, involved at the same level, more apathetic) towards Framingham government.

Businesses in Framingham (are struggling, surviving, thriving) since the pandemic.

The #1 issue I hear from residents about is the lack of civility and respect from City Hall.

IN-DEPTH questions


QUESTION #1: If elected Mayor, how will you support education financially and
policy-wise during your 4-year term?


As Framingham’s next Mayor, I will continue my tireless advocacy for public education in Framingham with a focus on accomplishing real results. By investing in students, educators, and infrastructure with an equity lens, a focus on green development, and interdepartmental collaboration with strong efficiencies, we will make our schools, and in turn our community, a better place for all.

I will work with the School Committee and Superintendent on the annual operating and capital budget process to ensure transparency, collaboration and buy-in from all relevant stakeholders in order to equitably fund our school system. In the FPS FY22 budget, $4.4 million in non-recurring funds were deployed in response to Mayor Spicer’s budget reductions in order for FPS to prevent cuts to vital educational services. That expanded the non-recurring reserve fund drawdown of $3 million in FY21 and $0.5 million in FY20. This growing dependence on non-recurring local reserve funds or federal relief cannot continue, and must be corrected in the FY23 FPS budget. This is a critical priority for the continued financial health of the school district.

More needs to be done to reverse the recent history of inattention to critical infrastructure needs, particularly where school roof projects were repeatedly deferred, creating public safety and rising construction costs. I will require all new eligible roof projects to be constructed with solar panels and/or other energy efficiency measures.

I want the City to purchase a property south of Route 9 for a long discussed PreK-5 Early Education Center to finally help address long bus rides for our youngest residents, equity, and help improve the challenges of school choice.

As a member and first Chair of the Fuller Middle School Building Committee, I know what it takes to bring together the dozens of aspects and partnerships necessary to secure funding and a plan for a new school. As Mayor, I will bring my experience to support this next new
school project in our community immediately.

If elected, I will require that the City’s Community and Economic Development Division coordinate with the school department when reviewing housing projects to ensure that there is thoughtful planning in relation to enrollment, class sizes, staffing, bus routes, school choice, traffic, and that financial support from developers are negotiated. In collaboration with the City Council, School Committee, and Superintendent, I will consider a merger of the School Department’s Buildings and Grounds Department with the City Facilities, Capital Projects, and Sustainability Departments to increase efficiencies and create recurring cost savings year after year.

Most importantly, I will show up. I will be an active, present Mayor who will attend School Committee meetings, and school-related cultural, athletic, and artistic events as I have for the last fifty years in Framingham. I will be the biggest fan, cheerleader and advocate for our schoolchildren, their coaches, teachers and administrators and school staff – because that’s what a mayor should be.


QUESTION #2: Speeding and traffic are top issues for many residents across all districts. The administration was tasked with presenting a plan for a Traffic Department. The Traffic Commission completed the plan but the Spicer administration never came before the Council with the plan. Do you support a Traffic Department? Why or Why not? How will you address traffic and speeding in neighborhoods if elected Mayor?


Street design changes and infrastructure investments are proven to reduce incidents of traffic collisions much more effectively than routine traffic stops. I believe that the creation of a Traffic Department would fulfill a critical role to the City’s livability, and Framingham needs a smarter, more nimble, stand-alone Traffic Department. Currently, transportation is divided between the City Planning and Public Works Departments. This split has been a hindrance for our community and I will change that.

I will support the creation of a Traffic Department in order to more effectively address traffic problems throughout the City. I will advocate that while achieving any feasible solution to automobile congestion, it certainly must include effectively addressing biking and pedestrian concerns too.

Regarding safety and speeding – I am especially proud of my work in helping develop the city-wide traffic calming policy and look forward to utilizing it to help solve traffic issues in our neighborhoods. We will pay particular attention to high-accident areas.

I also believe it will be important as part of a reassessment of City policies regarding biking and pedestrian safety, to develop new strategies to make our community’s streets safer by continuing to install smart pedestrian crossings, left turn arrows on traffic signals, additional turn lanes on major streets and continuing to replace out of date traffic signaling and installing additional signals and four-way stop signs where needed.

As Mayor I will work with neighborhood associations in collaboration with the Police Department, Framingham Public Schools and other organizations to make our streets safer for all of us no matter where we live in Framingham. Plans for a specific neighborhood will only be implemented following public forums where all stakeholders have had the opportunity to present their point of view and a final plan has been developed that best conforms to the needs of that community.

QUESTION #3: You have a background in public works. You served as Natick DPW Director before retiring. The long-time Framingham DPW Director Peter Sellers retired last year. His replacement just gave his resignation. There is no deputy director. If elected Mayor, what specific changes would you implement in that department?


It’s the job of the Public Works Department to upkeep our community’s infrastructure and improve the quality of life for all residents. This means making sure residents have parks that are safe and immaculate, good streets to drive on, clean water to drink and pleasant and efficient town buildings to visit – the list goes on and on.

Peter Sellers inherited quite the undertaking at the onset of his tenure as Framingham DPW Director of almost 20 years. Peter was able to run the DPW as a cohesive unit, providing excellent service to the community, while making his team’s collaboration seem effortless. Peter earned this position thanks to his impressive work ethic, intelligence, and calm, methodical, effective approach to tasks big and small. The real issue at hand with the Framingham DPW is the need to recruit, empower and retain talented, competent, responsive and diverse professionals to oversee city departments, initiatives and boards. I will conduct outreach through district councilors and other community stakeholders as part of a renewed focus on talent acquisition for municipal positions.

I will also introduce new measures to ensure our entire DPW budget is being used efficiently. Every agency and non-profit involved in contributing to that budget will have clear, streamlined metrics and public reporting on outcomes to ensure accountability. If a program isn’t working, I will be able to identify those issues and quickly shift resources to interventions that are proving effective.


QUESTION #4: Businesses are still trying to recover post-pandemic. Supplies are hard to find. Staff is hard to hire. Expenses keep rising. If elected Mayor, how will you support businesses so they not only survive but thrive in the City of Framingham? Be specific.


COVID-19 has been devastating for our business community. The impacts of the pandemic have been detrimental, most often to minority business owners and those with lower socio-economic status. I have been distraught by Framingham’s hundreds of deaths, thousands of positive cases, extended school closures, businesses trying to stay open, and the mental health impacts of the pandemic. I am running for Mayor of Framingham because I strongly believe the end of this crisis is an opportunity for someone with my experience to lead our community into the post-pandemic recovery phase.

If elected, I will continue to strive for an inclusive recovery, ensuring all small businesses have the resources they need to get back on their feet. From every shop to the banking, legal, and municipal services that are necessary for daily life, local business enclaves are the backbone of Framingham’s economy, and it is critically important to continue to create programs that help sustain their existence.

I have always been a longtime supporter of small businesses in our community. I have advocated for, and supported many small businesses in the area of licensing. As a former Selectman, I realized that the burden on small businesses to navigate city processes was challenging, and I tried to assist in any way I could.

As Mayor, I will even have a greater platform to make these processes more user-friendly and efficient for small businesses, particularly. I’m cognizant of the need to minimize the impact of cost growth on small businesses. Real-estate taxes and water and sewer costs are big impacts, and they are in control of the city. We have to be sure we mitigate these costs as much as possible, and be aware of their impacts when we make decisions in relation to City spending and operations. I will look to establish a policy as Mayor, that requires the City to utilize Framingham businesses if at all possible. We are often required to strictly follow state laws in terms of procurement, but I think there are many opportunities in which we can utilize local businesses for goods and services.

Lastly, I will be accountable and available to small business owners. I will not hide behind the door of the Mayor’s office. I will welcome the opportunity to communicate and collaborate with people who invest in our City by running their businesses here.

Regular, open communication – be it formal, or informal – will make me a better mayor. It will allow me to see the perspective of the small business owner and accommodate the challenges that are being faced.

Our businesses need a commitment to public safety. Our businesses need to have clean streets. Our businesses need more loan and grant opportunities. I have vowed to double down my support for all of these initiatives in order to create an improved environment for small businesses to take critical steps forward to revive and thrive in a post-pandemic world.

QUESTION #5: If elected Mayor, there are some key department heads you will need to hire. The City Council voted not to fund the planning and economic development director in June, so Kevin Shea retired. The CFO retired in June. The City Council voted to not fund the HR director as of December 31, and last month the HR Director resigned. The Chief Operating Officer serves at the pleasure of the Mayor. What is your vision for what the COO role should be for the City of Framingham? What is your vision for the City’s Economic Development & Planning Department? Do you support combining the City’s Human Resources Department with the Framingham Public Schools’ HR Department? Why or Why not?


I anticipate that the COO position will be consistent with the same model used in other cities across the Commonwealth: this role is responsible for running the City’s day-to-day operations and ensuring coordination internally and cross-departmentally to support projects, functions, and relationships to meet the City’s goals and objectives. The COO is also expected to be responsible for aiding the mayor in creating a citywide culture of customer service, accountability, and integrity, and implementing policies and procedures to ensure cross-departmental consistency.

My vision for the Framingham Economic Development & Planning Department is that it will assist, support, and enhance the commercial, industrial, and downtown components of our community. I intend for this Department’s staff to have an overarching goal of improving the quality of life in our neighborhoods by attracting desirable, appropriate development, and in turn, fostering a strong local economy.

The City of Framingham, with a population of approximately 70,000, has a diverse economy, including a number of manufacturers, long-standing financial institutions, an award-winning medical center, as well as unique dining establishments, and small retail enterprises.

I understand that a just, equitable, and prosperous economic recovery must focus on uplifting and supporting small businesses across Framingham. I am committed to easing burdens and streamlining processes and regulations, enabling businesses to set up quickly, reopen their doors, hire workers, and serve their communities. Our small businesses are the very heart of our city and our economy, and my plan will place them at the forefront of our recovery efforts.

To promote a more centralized human resource model that will coordinate policies and practices on a citywide basis, I would consider a merger between the City’s municipal HR Department and FPS’ HR Department. Such coordination and data collection will assist both management and employees in addressing overall and individual workforce needs, allow early indication of unwanted discriminatory trends and promote timely intervention of corrective measures. While this topic was already studied by UMass and determined no merger was recommended, a fresh look is necessary by a new Mayor, especially since under the current administration the terms of this study were not completed as required by the contract and the Mayor did not hold them accountable. Overall though, I think more comprehensive research needs to happen first and more conversations need to take place with the City Council and School Committee before we can take any action on that front.

QUESTION #6: The clean-up at Mary Dennison Park has yet to start. The clean-up at the former General Chemical site finally began months ago but there is not enough funding to completely clean it up. Residents in the Cedar Swamp area have yet to even have a public meeting on the toxins in their neighborhood. There is toxic algae at both Lake Cochituate and Lake Waushakum. What specific steps will your administration take to clean up the environmental justice neighborhoods in District 7, 8, & 9?


My environmental platform is based on the belief that the challenges presented by climate change require bold and innovative responses from government at all levels (local, regional, state and national); and that environmental justice must be a critical component of any plan to achieve social equity goals that will allow all community members to participate in civic affairs, prosper, and reach their full potential. The environmental justice areas that have long been neglected will become a top priority under my administration, and we will work to resolve these outstanding issues. I will ensure that we find the appropriate resources for the cleanup of Mary Dennison Park and continue to work with the State to finalize the cleanup and complete the construction of new fields and a playground.

General Chemical cleanup is another area that deserves the full attention from the City. I will insist that the Board of Health and Health Department put General Chemical back on their agenda to get the agencies involved with the cleanup to expedite their work.

Inaction will not be acceptable while I am Mayor.

A review of the Board of Health agendas in the past year show zero listings of this topic. That must change and become a focus with recurring agenda items to support forward progress and transparency.

I will reestablish the Code Enforcement Task Force in the environmental justice neighborhoods to protect and respect the residents living in these areas. We need to establish open lines of communication with owners of residential buildings in these neighborhoods to make them aware of energy efficient programs and incentives that they can take advantage of to improve the dwelling units for their tenants.

We also need to acknowledge that our primary effort as a community must be to provide our residents equitable access to safe, sanitary beaches by tackling issues related to water pollution. Protecting our beaches requires strong partnerships across government and good environmental stewardship in action. I am confident that I have the experience needed to collaborate with state and local officials to combat the water quality issues that we face today.

The City needs to take a comprehensive approach during the early summer season to assess the sources which threaten the vitality of our beach communities. Protecting our beaches from all types of water quality issues includes effectively managing the watershed around each lake, working with City Departments and community partners to actively monitor conditions in our lakes, and having a range of tools available to react to water quality issues when they occur whether it be water treatment or other methods.

QUESTION #7: The Mayor and the City Council had a rocky relationship during the Council’s first term and second terms. If elected Mayor how will you build relationships with the 11-member Council? How do you see the executive and the legislative branches of government working together for its constituents?

It’s all about communication. Poor communication is often cited as the cause of our City Council’s dissatisfaction with the executive branch, and good governance cannot be achieved without effective leadership by Framingham’s Mayor and City Council. The executive and legislative branches need to work on fostering mutual respect and building trust by understanding each other’s roles and fulfilling expectations. Doing so will ultimately lead to more meaningful meetings with honest, direct, respectful, and proactive communication.

It should be the duty of the mayor to work closely with the city’s Chief Operating Officer to move council goals forward, anticipate issues on the horizon. Of course, all of this works most effectively when the mayor understands council concerns and shares this feedback with the COO. Again, I stress that both branches of government need to communicate consistently and equitably. If elected, I pledge to always make time for conversations and meetings with City Councilors as well as my staff.

Guided by a commitment to transparency, collaboration, fiscal responsibility, and common-sense stakeholder engagement, as Mayor of Framingham, I will work with our City Council as a co-equal branch of our government.

Specifically, I will greatly improve the annual budget development process. As a former City Councilor, I know that collaboration and constructive critical oversight can make a Mayor, and ultimately the City more successful. I will hold public hearings on the annual budget, bring City Department Heads into the community to hear directly from residents, and make structural changes to set the City’s financial picture on a better path.

I will attend and actively participate in School Committee meetings, be on-call and available for all City Council meetings, have accessible public office hours, and will regularly attend other Board and Commission meetings.

Throughout my career I’ve demonstrated the ability to work cooperatively and effectively with the best interests of our community in mind. As Chair and as a Member of our former Board of Selectmen, I helped lead a dedicated and competent management team that worked hard to ensure consistently excellent, affordable municipal services including public safety, schools, parks and recreation, library services, health and public works. I worked with a large and diverse number of our community’s many constituencies, board members, non-profits, corporate citizens, four different town managers and countless other public officials maintaining Framingham’s financial stability, an enviable and stable bond rating, adequate stabilization funds, and multiple consecutive years of reduced tax levy assessments which translated to direct savings to all taxpayers in the community each year. My cooperative approach to maintaining strong relations and communications with all these stakeholders led to numerous accomplishments our city continues to benefit from.

I want to outline a collaborative process to create a detailed plan with public inputs, as well as from boards and commissions for federal and state grants, earmarks, and programs to support our City. I believe a Mayor’s role is to facilitate a coordinated approach in order to bring in “big wins” for our City from our legislators. My experience and record makes me the ideal candidate to collaborate with Assistant Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Katherine Clark, Senate President Karen Spilka, and Representatives Jack Patrick Lewis, Maria Robinson, and Carmine Gentile. I feel that the next Mayor’s term is the ideal time to take advantage of their unique seniority and roles and pursue a variety of projects.

QUESTION #8: Transparency of government has been an issue raised often during the Spicer administration. Many residents are told to file Freedom of Information (FOIA) requests to get documents and information. Many times residents’ emails and calls from the administration are not returned. During the pandemic, the Spicer administration never held a press conference. Do you think your administration has been transparent to residents and accountable to taxpayers? How will your administration be different, if you are elected Mayor?


Foremost, issues with transparency in Framingham are not just about access to public records, transparency must be redefined toward a more active enterprise, beyond the passive acts of merely publishing meeting and budgetary documents. Moving towards greater transparency requires innovation. With innovation, comes change, and the change desired is for the purpose of performance improvement, based on the needs and goals of our community.

Right now, Framingham needs more focus on collaborative transparency: meaning the government must do more to open up and facilitate residents’ understanding and participation, and community participation to bring meaningful change.

A forward-thinking government shares information about its own performance, invites residents and stakeholders to join in the process, and understands that innovation and change can present significant opportunities. While change may sometimes bring about growing pains, it is a prerequisite for improvement.

Framingham has much to learn and much to do to become an innovative, transparency leader in practice. As I’ve learned in prior service within the community, collaborative transparency requires the government opening its doors and sharing information proactively and in a user-friendly way, ensuring accessibility and understandability, and facilitating dialogue around key issues so that decisions are made in a transparent manner based on community needs and insights.

Framingham’s process under the current Mayor is broken, yet there is a chance for us to do it right. It will require the City to adopt new tools, new processes and a new attitude – an attitude that says “our community has ideas, they have smarts, they have valuable insights and we need to tap them”. I will reactivate the City’s customer service policy that requires inquiries to be responded to within 24 hours of receipt.

The current, “de facto policy” in the Mayor’s administration that requires people to file a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to get information – must change to ensure that
government customer services are transparent, open and respectful. Directing the public or media to file a request for public records should be a last resort. When people call City Hall looking for help or information, someone needs to answer the phone and reply to the email. This will take time as the human and technological infrastructure that is key to this has not been well cared for, but I am committed to correcting it starting on day one.

I also see a strong need for Framingham to improve its website and social media outreach too. Other cities have shown what can be done and how much there is to gain through effective uses of social media and deepened civic engagement. As with many modern technologies, Framingham needs to rethink and rebuild its IT infrastructure to effectively support the use of these new tools and processes.

I will hold press conferences and be readily available to the press, as will my top administrators. The approach of talking to the press and the public through written statements will cease.

QUESTION #9: Do you support the legislative plan to carve up Framingham in four districts? Why or Why not? It appears Framingham did not have a seat at the table at the state level. How can Framingham have a seat at the table at the state level?

The redistricting is still a work in progress, and I know Representatives Lewis and Robinson are working hard on making it work for Framingham. In a perfect world having all Framingham based districts would be great. But it is not possible given our population, the technical requirements for creating Districts and the policy initiatives that are driving the process.

Framingham being able to have a majority minority district is an important driver in this redistricting. I am excited for that development and look forward to seeing new faces emerge to represent Framingham at the state house.

I know it can be confusing and there is no doubt that there will be some disagreement and disappointment every ten years when this process takes places. This year is no different. One issue that has made this a challenge is the very real possibility that Framingham was undercounted. A more robust operation to support the census would have given us better confidence that all our residents, especially immigrant populations, were fully and accurately counted. It is too late now, but we have to remember how challenging this process is and how many components there are. I look forward to seeing the final results. I will ensure that Framingham will have an appropriate role in matters of this sort and other important matters by pursuing regular conversations with our legislative delegation and state officials.

Our local government is best positioned to know the unique strengths and needs of our community. In this regard, I’d encourage everyone to consider the ways that redistricting can benefit the creation of new Opportunity Zones, making use of every available tool, and an incentive to spur private and public investment in our underserved communities which may have experienced a lack of investment for decades.


QUESTION #10: During the pandemic, the Spicer administration said it did not have a written plan. The Chief Operating Officer said there was no need to create a plan that would sit on the shelf. When a crisis happens in the City, how will you go about dealing with it? Who will be your closest advisors? How will you seek input from key stakeholders? Who are those key stakeholders? How will you make sure all voices are heard in the City?


We can’t control when a crisis will hit, but we can control how to respond to it. If a crisis arises in Framingham, as Mayor, I will be responsible at the executive level for ensuring that any response effort runs smoothly. I will be the person who has to convene the representatives of the various public services who make up the crisis management team in our City.

In view of the Mayor’s administrative responsibility, the City Council may contact me at any time for the overall management of the response effort.

Our City needs a solid emergency management plan to tie us into the framework of local-state-federal effort. More importantly, the purpose of an emergency management plan is to guide Framingham city officials and community representatives during a major emergency or disaster, to help us do the best we can to keep our residents and their property safe. By assigning functions and detailing responsibilities ahead of time, we can make progress toward working in an organized, coordinated manner during such occurrences. The pandemic was unprecedented, but the idea of mobilizing local government to deal with a crisis should not have been a mystery. Any situation be it a pandemic, a weather crisis or other unimagined incidents requires strong leadership, with the confidence to implement a strategic and well thought out plan. Emergency preparedness is critical, and we all have a shared responsibility in keeping our community safe. The choices we make now can save lives and build an even
stronger, more resilient Framingham.

QUESTION #11: The Nobscot plaza was supposed to be revitalized. You were on a task force as District 1 City Councilor about the project. But today, the plaza is empty but with a giant CVS on the corner. What went wrong? How can this project be fixed?


I look forward to resuming my work on the progression of Nobscot Plaza. The remaining development of the Nobscot Plaza has been held up because the City has not completed the necessary roadway improvements. Once the road work is done, the remainder of the plan for redevelopment of the plaza can proceed. I have had conversations with the owner of the plaza who assures me that that project will proceed and I look forward to playing a leadership role in making sure that happens. My administration will play an important role in seeing that the Nobscot Plaza is brought to completion.

QUESTION #12: Do you support the proposed medical overlay district? Do you support the Central Business Zoning? The City has a couple of opportunity zones. But the Spicer administration has done nothing with them. What is your vision for those zones? Does the City’s zoning bylaws need to be tweaked? If yes, where?


In short, I support both the proposed medical overlay district and the Central Business
Zoning.

The Central Business Zone was an excellent idea and is working, however, as with any plan it needs to be continuously reviewed and tweaked to keep up with changing situations.

Regarding opportunity zones, and the City’s zoning bylaws: Framingham’s location and demographics will always allow the City potential to be a leader in attracting new, cutting edge businesses. If elected, my administration will work to “get ahead of the curve” on what zoning changes need to be made to accomplish this goal. I will make it my duty to oversee that we are in constant contact with our business community to offer support in regard to how zoning can help with their success. Two areas of our zoning ordinance that need serious consideration should be:
1.) To support affordable housing/rental properties and;
2.) To support our business community in a fair and controlled manner.

QUESTION #13: Select one decision by Mayor Yvonne Spicer during her first term in office that you would have handled differently and why?

Unfortunately, the sobering reality is that the mismanagement of our water rates by the Spicer administration over the last four years has left the City with a significant deficit in the water and sewer enterprise funds. The deficit is a crisis that has impacted services for residents, for example impacting our school district when the Mayor forced the return of previously appropriated education funding to fill the enterprise fund gap. Given the massive subsidy the fund has required over the last three years the immediate future is challenging. Rate payers suffered a 10% rate hike in July because the Spicer administration had not increased rates since 2019, despite rising costs and lessening demand.


I would not have relied on the use of the reserve funds in the water and sewer budget to avoid the necessary rate increases which were needed to provide the proper support for the water and sewer operations.

Federal American Rescue Plan Act funds have already been leveraged to help mitigate Framingham’s water rates. The use of nonrecurring federal funds is a mistake for trying to bail out the water and sewer enterprise funds. It is really tragic that the mismanagement of the system has required that these funds be used to fill rate gaps and not be available for other purposes for which they were intended, as the intent of this funding is to help people in our community deal with and recover from the detrimental impacts of COVID-19.

QUESTION #14: Framingham is home to a large socio-economic and ethnically diverse community. In fact, more than 70 languages are spoken in the Framingham Public Schools. How will you make sure that all voices are given input to City decisions? What is your plan to use the Citizen Participation Officer? How will you make sure services are equal in all 9 Districts?


From social activities to civic action, having the opportunity to connect and feel welcomed strengthens civic engagement within our community. Our residents expect to be heard by their leaders on the issues that matter the most, and frustration can arise when they feel like they aren’t being heard. Engagement creates an atmosphere where neighbors help neighbors, government listens to its stakeholders and no one of any demographic is left behind. As Mayor, I know the first step will be reaching out to local residents and helping them connect with one another and with their government. Right now, the City needs innovative new ways for residents to get involved within their interpersonal communities to bring diverse voices into conversations about how to make a community stronger and what programs and policies local government should prioritize for them.

The City Charter states that the Citizen Participation Officer is responsible for working with City employees, boards and committees to enhance public engagement, answer questions, field complaints and ensure the city meets all public notice requirements. Additionally, I would also want the CPO to take on the role of working collaboratively with other members of my administration to organize meetings with neighborhood associations to discuss issues such as development, public safety and education and use feedback from residents to influence Framingham’s future policies.

I am committed to and will be accountable for the advancement of diversity, equity and inclusivity in Framingham policy making and in the delivery of City services. I will work to foster an environment of equality in the government that is welcoming and inclusive for all of its current and future residents. I will work collaboratively with all who share a vision of Framingham where dreams of social justice and cultural competency can become reality.

QUESTION #15: To be blunt, some outside the city, and even some inside the city, have described this mayoral race as a progressive African-American woman against an old white man. To some you are the pale, male, stale candidate. A member of the “good old boys” and a step backwards for the new City of Framingham. But others have said it comes down to issues and the record of the first Mayor in office. Why should someone vote for you and not re-elect the current Mayor?


I totally reject the characterization of what was stated above. This race is about the Mayor’s lack of municipal management skills and her inability to effectively run the government of Framingham. I bring to the table over 40 years of professional municipal management experience and I am ready to serve as Mayor on day one.

With community support and collaboration, I will change our current course. I pledge to work every day for Framingham, in a civil and innovative way with all of our City’s elected and appointed officials and stakeholders to make sure our government is prepared to meet the needs of the future.

Throughout my career, I have demonstrated the ability to work cooperatively and effectively with the best interests of the community in mind. While on the Board of Selectmen, I helped lead a dedicated and competent management team that worked hard to ensure consistently excellent, affordable municipal services including public safety, education, parks and recreation, library services, health and public works. I have worked with a large and diverse number of our community’s many constituencies, board members, non-profits, corporate citizens, four different town managers and countless other public officials maintaining Framingham’s financial stability, an enviable and stable bond rating, adequate stabilization funds, and multiple consecutive years of reduced tax levy assessments which translated to direct savings to all taxpayers in the community each year.

In both my professional life and in public service – I’ve worked to build bridges – literally and figuratively. If there’s one thing the past four years here in Framingham has taught us, we need public officials that do a better job of working together for the benefit of the whole community. No Mayor can, nor should they try, to do it alone. As we begin to focus on planning for a post-pandemic economic recovery, we need to draw upon the wisdom and experience of all our community stakeholders and work together for the best interests of our City.

The stakes are high and the opportunities are too important to miss out on. I strongly believe that I am the right person for this job at this moment in our City’s history to equitably support our schools, our environment, our senior citizens, our economy and lead everything our Mayor must do to help our entire community move forward. We, as a community, need to do better. It’s time to work together, and focus on Framingham.

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Thank you to the SOURCE for publishing this important Q and A. I hope you will consider voting for me by mail or in person on November 2nd. Feel free to reach out in advance if you have any questions. To read my platform and learn more about why I am running, visit my website https://charlieforframingham.com/

editor

email: editor@FraminghamSource.com call or text at 508-315-7176