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Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno orders long-dormant Casino Advisory Committee to have first meeting


Peter Goonan

August 13, 2019

SPRINGFIELD — Mayor Domenic J. Sarno has ordered the long-dormant Casino Advisory Committee to conduct its first meeting by Sept. 30.

The order follows a complaint by one of the committee members to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission.

Sarno, in an executive order Tuesday, directed the 11-member committee to meet by Sept. 30, saying that meetings are required under the city’s host community agreement with MGM Springfield, which was signed in 2013. The meetings were supposed to have begun around the time of the downtown casino’s opening Aug. 24, 2018, and were to have continued on a quarterly basis for two years.

“The Advisory Committee will help make sure that both MGM Springfield and the City of Springfield are successful through the promotion of economic development initiatives involving travel, tourism, business development and job creation,” Sarno said in a news release.

Johnny Ray McKnight, who was appointed in January by members of the city council, complained in June and then again last week that the committee had failed to meet. Other members had been appointed by Sarno, the City Council, MGM Springfield and the Springfield Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Almost a year after MGM Springfield’s opening, city casino advisory committee still hasn’t met; member asks Gaming Commission to intervene

Springfield Mayor Domenic J. Sarno said the casino oversight committee is slated to meet shortly after Labor Day.

McKnight emailed a complaint to the Gaming Commission, suggesting the commission intervene in the matter and fine the city and MGM Springfield.

The host community agreement between MGM and the city provides specifics about the makeup and function of the committee, but does not state who schedules the first meeting or who serves as chair.

Sarno opted Tuesday to issue an executive order to schedule the meeting, saying he was doing so “by authority vested in me as Mayor of the City of Springfield” and pursuant to the host community agreement.

The order say the advisory committee will provide nonbinding recommendation to Sarno and MGM Springfield “under the director of the City’s Chief Development Officer.” Timothy Sheehan was appointed chief development officer in Springfield by Sarno in June, replacing Kevin Kennedy, who retired.

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