FRAMINGHAM – The Chair of the City of Framingham Human Relations Commission announced at the January 12 meeting, he planned to resigned as chair and as a Commission member, effective after that meeting.
District 3 resident Michael McCorvey submitted his resignation letter to the City Clerk on the morning of January 13, City Clerk Lisa Ferguson confirmed today, January 17.
“Please accept this as my letter of resignation from the Framingham Human Relations Commission. I have appreciated the opportunity to serve my community on this Commission and am sad to have to depart. | will be enrolling in an MBA program beginning this month and given the rigor of the program I will not have the time to be able to dedicate to the needs of the Commission. I do hope that in the future I will have an opportunity to serve Framingham in another capacity,” wrote McCorvey, who was appointed to the Commission by former mayor Yvonne Spicer in September of 2021.
His term was set to expire in June of 2024.
In his application to the Commission, McCorvey said he served “as the Director of the Multicultural Center at a local university where my role requires me to
consistently learn about issues that effect minoritized populations. I collaborate with a variety of offices across the university including University Police to assist with the creation, elimination, and adjustment of policies and procedures to foster a more equitable environment on campus. I was named a core member of the University’s Racial Justice Task Force where I was a key member of developing a Racial Equity Toolkit for units to use to bring their practices in line our out inclusivity goals.”
The Commission has been struggling with getting a quorum for meetings, so Mayor Charlie Sisitsky proposed lowering the membership from 13 to 9 members, in 2022.
“The purpose of the Commission shall be to deal with the causes of intergroup disunity which underlie the urban crisis, including, but not limited to, the elimination of conditions of bias discrimination and prejudice against minority groups, and to establish affirmative action programs to ensure equal enforcement of the law, and equal protection of the law, for all groups regardless of race, color, religious creed, national origin, ancestry, sex, gender identity, age, disability, sexual orientation, genetics, status as an active member of the armed forces of the United States, or any other protected class recognized under state or federal law (“protected class status”),” according to the City’s website.
The Commission has also been dealing with Open Meeting law violation complaints.
The last meeting posting on January 12 may have been another Open Meeting Law violation.
The Meeting was originally posted on January 10 at 4:06 p.m., plenty of time for the 48 hour requirement.
However, the Zoom link was not included until 3:50 p.m. on January 11, which is less than 48 hours notice.
This digital news outlet informed the Commission Chair that not posting the link 48 hours in advance would be like posting an in-person meeting and not posting where the meeting is taking place, which the law requires to be posted 48 hours in advance.
Chair McCorvey said he believed it was not an Open Meeting Law violation at the January 12 meeting, as he was adhering to the “spirit of the law.”
Besides quorum and Open Meeting Law issues, the Commission is also very far behind in submitting required minutes.
No minutes have been filed since March of 2021.
Minutes for the April, August, September, October and December 2021 meetings are not on the City’s meeting portal.
Minutes are missing from two meetings in 2019 and two meetings in 2019.
Minutes are missing from 6 meetings in 2018.
“The Open Meeting Law requires public bodies to create and approve minutes in a timely manner. A “timely manner” is considered to be within the next three public body meetings or 30 days from the date of the meeting, whichever is later, unless the public body can show good cause for further delay. The Attorney General encourages minutes to be approved at a public body’s next meeting whenever possible. The law requires that existing minutes be made available to the public within ten days of a request, whether they have been approved or remain in draft form,” according to the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office.
With the resignation of McCorvey, there are now two openings on the Commission for the Mayor to fill.
District 3 resident Renee Harper, who is Vice Chair according to the City’s website, will take over as acting chair.