By this statement, the Massachusetts Association of Health Boards (MAHB) leadership formally releases its position regarding comments and subsequent actions made by Michael Hugo of Framingham, Massachusetts on February 7, 2023 during the public participation session of the Framingham City Council meeting.  MAHB affirms that Mr. Hugo’s oral comments were made in his personal capacity as a resident of Framingham with absolutely no connection with MAHB and were in reference to the Council’s forthcoming vote on a resolution entitled “Proclamation for the Protection of Reproductive Rights sponsored by the Public Health & Safety Subcommittee”.

MAHB governance leadership agrees that Mr. Hugo made regrettably irrational and abhorrent statements during that meeting, as well as in writing in a letter he wrote to the Framingham City Council under his signature as the Chair of the Framingham Democratic Committee (FDC). The MAHB leadership also strongly supports and advocates with the Framingham Disability Commission and agrees with the Commission’s response to Mr. Hugo’s comments emphasizing  that “…the community as a whole take this unfortunate circumstance and create an opportunity to engage in meaningful dialogue as a means of learning about the experiences, challenges, and civil rights of persons with disabilities. Also important is that we seek opportunities to educate and learn about the assumptions that are often made in error about the personal capacity of persons with disabilities, and even more critically, about the ideologies and systems that inform those persistent assumptions. In short, we need to dig deeper together as a community that cares about inclusion and access in order to repair the damage done by these recent comments, as well as by the assumptions they represent. ”

MAHB would also like to set the record straight that although Mr. Hugo was hired as an MAHB staff employee in 2022 to administer and provide technical assistance on our Board of Health (BOH) capacity building and shared services projects, Mr. Hugo does not hold a leadership position within the governance of MAHB. To be clear, Mr. Hugo previously served on the MAHB Executive Board between 2012 and 2018 while he was an appointed member of the Framingham Board of Health (BOH).  His continued retirement from the Framingham BOH since 2018 made him ineligible for further MAHB regular voting membership or governance roles.  This ineligibility is the same for all individuals no longer actively serving on a MAHB member Board of Health or equivalent legal entity.

On February 18, 2023, Mr. Hugo posted a personal apology on the Framingham Democratic Committee website.  On the same page, the Framingham Democratic Committee’s Executive Committee issued a press release strongly disavowing the letter that Mr. Hugo had sent to Town Council on behalf of the Framingham Democratic Committee.