Meeting Attendees: All FDC members listed, those in BOLD were present :
Members: Lori Bornstein, Christopher Broyles, Tracey Bryant, Jeanne Bullock, Jerry Desilets, Patrick Dunne, Mary Kate Feeney, Barbara Fontes, Adam Freudberg, Kurt Fusaris, Linda Fields, Danielle Gregoire, Audrey Hall, Jim Hansen , Brooke Harvey, Leslie White Harvey, Rosamond Hooper-Hamersley, Beverly Hugo, Mike Hugo, Shahid Khan, Ohad Klopman, Doug Lawrence, Barbara LeDuc, Caraline Levy, Chris Lorant, Jack Patrick Lewis, David Magnani, Thom Mahoney, Betty Muto, Kathie McCarthy, Amanda Northrup, Phil Ottaviani, Cindy Rubin, Margareth Shepard, Norma Shulman, Ravi Simon, Priscila Sousa, Yvonne Spicer, Adam Steiner, John Stefanini, Cesar Stewart-Morales, Jim Stockless, Larry Stoodt, Cheryl Tully-Stoll, Parwez Wahid, Mel Warshaw
Associate Members: Rob Adamson, Kalee Balde, Maureen Dunne, Ricky Finlay, Karen Garafolo, David Gordon, Tilia Klebenov Jacobs, William LaBarge, Andrew Machkasov, Diane Markowitz, Isabella Petroni, Joan Rastani, Pamela Roberts, Brandon Ward, Joel Winett
Guests: Mayor Sisitsky, Councilor Cannon, Petroni Media, other members of the public for a total of 50 persons on the Zoom call.
7:00 – 7:10 Welcome and preliminary announcements – Mike Hugo
7:10 – 7:40 Statements from the Chair – Mike Hugo
7:40 – 7:55 Report of the Executive Committee – Moderated by Doug Lawrence, Secretary
- Report of actions taken by Executive Committee – Doug Lawrence
- Bylaw revisions proposed by Exec. Committee – Mel Warshaw
7:55 – 8:25 Voting Member Discussion of comments by Chair at City Council – Moderated by Doug Lawrence
8:25 – 8:35 Subcommittee Reports
- Civic Education – Beverly Hugo
- Environmental Subcommittee – Larry Stoodt
- Other Subcommittees 8:35 – 8:37
Treasurer’s Report – Larry Stoodt
8:37 – 8:40 Secretary Report: Acceptance of Minutes – Doug Lawrence
8:40 – 8:55 Reports from City Council, School Committee, and Mayor
8:55 – 9:10 Initial Planning for Caucus/Convention, Chair & State Committee members
9:10 – 9:15 Announcements for the Good of the Order
Meeting called to order at 7:04PM PM by Mike Hugo, Chair
Statements from the Chair
Mike Hugo began the meeting by repeating his apology to FDC and the people and disability community of Framingham.
He briefly described the way his apologies have been downplayed and to his frustration his words paraphrased in inflammatory ways to increase the negative impact of his statement. Mike abbreviated his planned remarks to approximately 10 minutes and we moved on to the report of the Executive Committee.
Mike Hugo recused himself as chair and Doug Lawrence, FDC Secretary, took over as temporary chair to facilitate a discussion that bore directly on Mr. Hugo’s recent statements.
7:15 pm Report of the Executive Committee meeting on 16th February:
As Secretary, Mr. Lawrence read the Executive Committee press release issued 17 Feb 2022:
“The Chair’s remarks (at the February 7th City Council meeting) were harmful, misleading and wrong. They did not accurately reflect the vote of the full Framingham Democratic Committee and we fully disavow and denounce them. We are deeply sorry to all for these remarks and have put in place processes to avoid future occurrences.”
The Executive Committee also took the following actions:
- Put in place a temporary policy that all public statements on behalf of the FDC must be unanimously approved by the (members of) the Executive Committee and the Chair of the Communications Committee.
- The EC referred this policy to the Bylaws Committee for further thought and codification into Bylaws.
Following the EC report, Norma Shulman made the following motion:
Motion 1: I move that the FDC Membership endorse the statement issued by the Executive Committee on the 16th of February 2023.
Norma supported her remarks with the observation that in her view this is the equivalent of censure of the Chair. Mel objected and said he could not support the motion if it were formal censure. Norma indicated that the Motion would stand as originally worded with no mention of “censure”.
Motion was seconded by Kathie McCarthy and debate began.
John Stefanini offered an amendment:
“…and in addition that the FDC schedule an agenda item on a future meeting to discuss vacating the Chair, and if needed to elect a new chair”.
After brief discussion the acting Chair (Lawrence) ruled that these were separate motions to be taken up sequentially.
After some additional debate, the question of Motion 1 was called:
Motion 1 to endorse the EC actions was passed.
The Chair then asked John Stefanini to restate the second motion:
Motion 2: “The FDC shall add an agenda item to a future meeting to discuss vacating the Chair, and if needed to elect a new chair.”
Priscila Sousa seconded the motion.
There was brief discussion of whether Motion 2 was in order. Mel Warshaw pointed out that the FDC Bylaws establish a 10-member petition procedure for initiating a vote on vacating an office and a 2/3 FDC Member vote threshold to do so. Tracy Bryant also pointed out that the Bylaws contain a succession process whereby in the absence of the Chair the Vice Chair(s) shall act as Chair for the balance of the term. After further discussion, the Chair (Lawrence) read Sec 3.8. of the Bylaws which contain the provision for recall of an officer referred to by Mr. Warshaw and Sec 3.3 referenced by Ms. Bryant. The Bylaws are available publicly on the FDC website.
The Chair (Lawrence) then ruled that Motion 2 was in order as it simply is placing an item on an agenda of a future meeting for a discussion, which requires only a majority vote.
Approx 7:45 Debate began on Motion 2:
We began what became approximately an hour and a half of debate on the conduct of the FDC Chair and Motion 2:
The Acting Chair established ground rules:
- 2 Minutes per person, no more than 2 speaking opportunities (per Roberts Rules). Larry Stoodt timed and gave a 15 second warning, and the Chair indicated he would permit people to finish a thought, not enforce a cut off at 2:00.
- Members and Associate Members only to speak.
- Noted that the meeting was open, and that members of the general public, the press etc were in attendance and that the meeting was being recorded, both by FDC to assist in preparing these notes and possibly by attendees. Members were cautioned that they should be aware that their remarks might appear in the press tomorrow.
- Try not to repeat what has been said and try to offer solutions. Be thoughtful, and try to be kind
- Discussion will not be arbitrarily limited. We wish to hear all members and associate members who wish to speak.
Over the next hour and a half more than 30 persons were recognized to speak, and several people spoke more than once. FDC members were well represented on both sides of Motion 2. The debate was extensive and at times very emotional and the substance of the debate is too long to repeat in these minutes.
At approximately one hour, a motion was made to limit debate and bring the matter to a vote, and with guidance of some members well-versed in Roberts Rules, this proposal was ruled out of order by the Chair as we still had not heard from some members who wished to speak. Around 9:40, debate was exhausted, and the Chair was able to reread Motion 2 and call for a vote by show of hands. The vote by show of hands was conducted but led to questions of miscounting, and whether some members understood the meaning of a yes or no vote.
NB: It was noted by the Chair/Secretary that voting procedures via Zoom without the use of electronic voting tools are very challenging, as participants faces and names move within the screens and lists while the vote is being counted. In addition, point of order was used many times during the meeting and since non-speakers were muted, members with a point of order were forced to make bold gestures to catch the attention of the Chair. We need to find a better way! Or return to holding these meetings in person.
Motion 2: Because of issues with counting the first vote by show of hands, we moved to a roll call vote. The Chair re-read Motion 2 and clarified the meaning of a yes/no vote and asked if any further clarification was needed. Seeing no hands, the Chair called the roll.
Voting Yea: Phil Ottaviani, Priscila Sousa, Adam Steiner, Adam Freudberg, Cheryl Tully Stoll, Norma Shulman, John Stefanini, Audrey Hall, Pat Dunne, Kathie McCarthy, and Mary Kate Feeney.
Voting No: Mike Hugo, Beverly Hugo, Tracey Bryant, Tom Mahoney, Margareth Shepard, Lori Bornstein, Cindy Rubin, Doug Lawrence, Barbara Fontes, Chris Lorant, Barbara LeDuc, Rosamund Hooper-Hamersley, Larry Stoodt, Mel Warshaw, Parwez Wahid and Christopher Broyles.
Abstain: David Magnani
With 11 Yeas, 16 Nos and 1 Abstention, Motion 2 failed.
Other Business: (starting 9:40PM) – Mr Hugo resumed his duties as Chair for the remainder of the meeting.
Due to the late hour, remaining business was handled in a highly abbreviated manner. Treasurer’s and Secretary’s reports were skipped. A meeting of the Civics committee was briefly noted.
2023 Caucus: dates of 3-4 and 10-11 of June were discussed. It was noted that high school graduation is the 3rd so the second weekend, 10/11 June was selected. A Committee of Parwez Wahid, Larry Stoodt and Mike Hugo was appointed to find a venue and plan the meeting.
Mel Warshaw with the Bylaws Committee indicated that Bylaws plans to codify the Executive Committee policy on press releases and statements into a proposed Bylaw, and they will bring this proposed Bylaw forward at our next FDC regular meeting.
Adjourned at 9:45pm – moved by K. McCarthy , seconded by L. Stoodt , passed by acclamation
Special Note: If you or a loved one are experiencing any issues that we can help with during this extraordinary time please contact the Chair or any Officer and we will do all we can to get services or meet any needs that we can for that person, we would be honored to render discreet aid to anyone in need, to the best of our abilities.
Next FDC Meeting Date: Sunday March 19, 2023
Via Zoom: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87525510969