Framingham Government Academy

Fall 2020 enrollment is now closed. 

Zoom Community Hour - What's in store for the next Framingham Government Academy?


The Framingham Government Academy (FGA) is a ten-week series of virtual educational workshops guided by representatives from City departments to educate residents about a variety of municipal functions and increase their understanding of the community. Framingham will host FGA on Zoom.   

BENEFITS OF ENROLLING IN THE ACADEMY: The virtual FGA is an opportunity for residents to learn the ins-and-outs of the Framingham government from the comfort of home. Understanding processes and functions equips residents to be informed and more meaningfully engaged. Each week, academy members will hear directly from city leaders on different topics such as policy, services, and initiatives.

PARTICIPATION IN THE ACADEMY: Participants are encouraged, but not required, to attend all sessions. However, attendees must enroll by completing this application by Friday, Oct. 9. Sessions will be recorded and available on the Government Channel, Youtube, and FGA web page in December.

 Mayor Yvonne M. Spicer and Citizen Participation Officer Alaa Abusalah will host the 2020 FGA, which kicks off Oct. 13. Sessions will be 6-7 p.m. on Tuesdays (except session four, Monday, Nov. 2). Zoom links will be sent to participants before each session.


Session 1: Framingham 101 – Tuesday, October 13


  • Yvonne M. Spicer, Mayor 
  • Thatcher Kezer, Chief Operating Officer 
  • Alaa Abusalah, Citizen Participation Officer 
  • George King, City Council Chairman

Description: In 2017, Framingham approved a charter change replacing the town manager, Board of Selectmen and 216 member representative Town Meeting with a strong Mayor and 11-member City Council. In this session, academy members will learn about the two branches of government, executive and legislative, and their role in Framingham.  

Session 2: Excellence in Education and Schools – Tuesday, October 20


  • Yvonne M. Spicer, Mayor (School Committee ex-officio member) 
  • Dr. Robert Tremblay, Framingham Public Schools Superintendent 
  • Adam Freudberg, School Committee Chairman

Description: The mission of the Framingham Public Schools (FPS) is to educate each student to learn and live productively as a critically thinking, responsible citizen in a multicultural, democratic society by providing academically challenging instructional programs taught by a highly qualified and diverse staff and supported by comprehensive services in partnership with the community. In this session, academy members will learn how FPS strategically strives to achieve educational excellence. 

Session 3: Framingham Finances – Tuesday, October 27


  • Mary Ellen Kelly, Chief Financial Officer
  • Jennifer Pratt, Assistant Chief Financial Officer and Chief Procurement Officer
  • William Naser, Chief Assessor 
  • Carolyn Lyons, Treasurer/Collector 
  • Richard Howarth, City Accountant 

Description: The Administration and Finance Division is composed of five departments: Accounting, Assessing, Purchasing, Technology Services, and the Treasurer/Collector. In this session, academy members will learn get an overview of taxes, budgets and financial management , property valuation, and city purchasing.  

Session 4: Fostering a Healthy and Robust Economy – Monday, November 2


  • Kevin Shea, Planning and Community Development Director
  • Erika Jerram, Planning and Community Development Deputy Director 

Description: The Division of Planning and Community Development (PCD) includes Planning and Economic Development, Permitting, including Conservation Commission, Planning Board, Zoning Board of Appeals, Historic District Commission and the Historical Commission; and Community Development. Members of the academy will learn how PCD works to improve residential neighborhoods, encourages a healthy economy, and promotes Framingham as a desirable place to live, shop, work and invest.

Session 5: Building and Developing in Framingham – November 10


  • Michael Tusino, C.B.O. Director/Building Commissioner  

Description: The Inspectional Services Division is responsible for Building Permits and Inspections, Zoning Enforcement, Plumbing and Gas Permits and Inspections, Electrical Permits and Inspections, Sign Permits and Inspections, and Code and Nuisance Enforcement. In this session, academy members will learn the functions of the building department.  

Session 6: Keeping Framingham Safe and Healthy – Tuesday, November 17


  • Ronald Brandolini, Interim Police Chief 
  • Michael Dutcher, Fire Chief 
  • Dr. Samuel Wong, Director of Public Health

Description: In this session, academy members will learn about the operations of the Police and Fire departments, and how the Department of Public Health supports and enhances health through strong leadership, high quality services, culturally competent health education, and collaboration with diverse local and regional partners.

Session 7: Framingham Works – Tuesday, November 24


  • Blake Lukis, Director of Public Works 
  • Kathryn Ronconi, Assistant Director of Highway and Sanitation
  • Stephen Leone, Acting Director of Water and Wastewater

Description: The Department of Public Works’ (DPW) core mission is to provide service and technical support to the major Departments within DPW including Highway, Sanitation, Lighting and Signals, Water, Wastewater, Engineering, and Fleet. In this session, academy members learn how the role of DPW and how the team prepares and tackles winter operations. 

Session 8: A Greener Community – Tuesday, December 1


  • Shawn Luz, Sustainability Coordinator 
  • Stephen Sarnosky, Recycling Coordinator 
  • Robert McArthur, Conservation Administrator  

Description: In this session, academy members will learn how about citywide efforts in creating a sustainable and resilient community.   

Session 9: Cultural Assets, Resources, and Recreation – Tuesday, December 8


  • James Snyder, Director of Parks, Recreation, & Cultural Affairs
  • Grace O’Donnell, Director of Elder Services
  • Trisha Powell, Superintendent of Recreation
  • Lena Kilburn, Public Library Director 

Session 10: Closing – Getting Involved in Your Framingham – Tuesday, December 15


  • Yvonne M. Spicer, Mayor 
  • Alaa Abusalah, Citizen Participation Officer 
  • Kelly McFalls, Public Information Officer and Webmaster

Description: In this session, academy members will learn how Framingham communicates city government news and how they can meaningfully interact and engage with the City.

The Framingham Government Academy is an initiative of the Office of Mayor Yvonne M. Spicer. There is no cost to enroll in the academy. Class size is limited to 500 participants.