domenic sarno

Should municipal employees be legally required to live in the city or town that pays their salary?  The long-simmering debate over local residency requirements in Massachusetts has flared recently in several cities, including Springfield.

 Three city councilors in Springfield claim six deputy or district chiefs in the Springfield Fire Department are in violation of the city’s residency ordinance. Their public demand for the fire officials to move into the city immediately, or give up their jobs, brought a sharp rebuke from Mayor Domenic Sarno.

The civilian board that investigates complaints against the police in Springfield, Massachusetts has not issued a public report about its work in almost two years. The mayor’s office says there is no target date for releasing the overdue reports that are supposed to come out annually.

WAMC

Today was inauguration day for the mayor and city councilors in the largest city in western Massachusetts.

Domenic Sarno took the oath of office to formally begin a new term as mayor of Springfield during an inauguration ceremony that put his well-known optimism and civic pride on full display and included the playing of a new marketing video that boasts Springfield as a “city on the rise.”

"I have every confidence that Springfield stands on the dawn of an unprecedented renaissance," declared Sarno in his 4th inaugural address.

WAMC

In western Massachusetts Tuesday, Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno and Chicopee Mayor Richard Kos were re-elected by big margins.  Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse squeaked out a victory in a contest where bad blood remained even after the votes were counted.

construction workers in front of buidling
WAMC

MGM wants to shrink by 14 percent its proposed resort casino development in Springfield, Massachusetts. The proposal surprised and angered the city’s mayor, who has been one of the project’s biggest boosters.

WAMC

A top official with MGM Resorts International Monday pledged the company’s strong commitment to building a casino in Springfield. MGM upped the ante by announcing plans to take a former school department building off the city’s hands and redevelop it.

WAMC

The city council in Springfield, Massachusetts has scheduled a special meeting to vote on a sizable tax break for a subway car manufacturer after a vote at a regular meeting was unexpectedly delayed. 

The Springfield City Council will meet Tuesday to vote on a tax incentive agreement with CRRC USA Rail Corp, which is planning to build a $95 million factory in east Springfield to build subway cars. The agreement,  if approved, would save the Chinese company $10 million over a 10-year period in exchange for a promise to create at least 150 jobs.

WAMC

Gay rights activists Wednesday launched the fifth annual Springfield Pride Week with a call to expand legal protections in Massachusetts for transgender people.

The rainbow unity flag was raised on the Springfield City Hall esplanade and the mayor read a proclamation in front of about 50 people to publicize Pride Week.  It is a volunteer run series of events that include dances, parties, performances, and a church service.

Authorities in Massachusetts’ third largest city are using innovation, technology, and more police on patrol to combat violent crime.

Total crime is down about 8 percent in Springfield so far this year, according to the Springfield Police Department.  It is in keeping with a national trend of steadily declining crime rates. But, the crime that makes the headlines – homicides – stands at 13, just one shy of the total number of murders Springfield recorded for all of last year.

It is approaching crunch time for municipal budgets in Massachusetts where the fiscal year ends June 30th.  A new budget to run the state’s third-largest city is expected to be finalized later today.

The Springfield City Council has scheduled a special meeting Monday evening to vote on a budget for fiscal year 2016, which starts on July 1st.

WAMC

Massachusetts Congressman Richard Neal has delivered an early endorsement as the municipal campaign season is getting underway.    The veteran Congressman is supporting Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno’s reelection bid. 

Neal stood beside Sarno in front of Springfield City Hall Friday and praised the mayor’s record on economic development, managing the city’s finances, and for devoting considerable time to the efforts to improve the public schools. 

" I think Domenic Sarno has done a terrific job as mayor and I intend to support him," declared Neal.

WAMC

It is municipal budget season in Massachusetts. The mayor of Springfield  is proposing a budget that puts more cops on the streets and does not dip into the city’s cash reserves. 

Mayor Domenic Sarno, in a message that accompanied the release Thursday of a recommended budget totaling almost $600 million, praised the city’s finance team for producing a spending plan that prioritizes public safety, avoids layoffs, maintains core services and for the first time since 2008 does not touch the city’s cash reserves to balance the budget.

WAMC

Massachusetts Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito is working to build strong ties between the Baker administration and municipal government leaders.   She is doing it one small meeting at a time as she travels around the state. 

Polito has visited more than 40 municipalities in Massachusetts since late January, leaving her with more than 300 to go. Her plan is to visit all 351 communities in the state before her first four-year term is up.

Catholic Communications, Diocese of Springfield

Multiple sites are being considered for the location of a new regional Catholic high school in western Massachusetts.  The new school will result from the merger of 130-year-old Cathedral High School and Holyoke Catholic High School.

      Springfield Bishop Mitchell Rozanski said in the two weeks since he announced the proposed merger he has met separately with the student bodies of both schools and started to assemble a group of advisors to work out the merger details. 

  " We are moving along quickly on that," said Rozanski.

WAMC

The mayor of Springfield is calling on the administration of Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker to end a practice by the past administration of placing homeless families in congregate housing.

An angry Mayor Domenic Sarno said de-facto group homes for homeless families have been created in apartment buildings concentrated in a handful of city neighborhoods since last fall with city inspectors finding in some cases 3-4 families living in a single apartment.

" This is absolute BS," said Sarno at a city hall news conference.

WAMC

Massachusetts Governor-elect Charlie Baker, just three days removed from his close election victory, visited western Massachusetts today.  He met privately with the mayor of the region’s largest city, and also with a suburban mayor who had endorsed Baker’s candidacy.

The Republican governor-elect and the Democratic mayor of Springfield dismissed their political differences and stressed their mutual interests in economic development and finding innovative ways to improve the state’s public schools.

The mayors of two western Massachusetts cities are calling for reform of the state’s bail laws when it comes to detaining people accused of violent crimes.   The Hampden District Attorney’s office plans to use more so-called dangerousness hearings in gun cases in a bid to hold defendants without bail.

City of Springfield

The Mayor of Springfield, Massachusetts has renewed a call for an end to new refugee resettlements in Springfield.  Massachusetts Congressman Richard Neal said the mayor has raised concerns that need to be addressed.

     Mayor Domenic Sarno first called for a moratorium on refugee resettlements in Springfield 10 months ago, but then backed off amid criticism from social service providers and advocates for immigrants. Sarno said his office recently learned that up to 70 refugees will be settled in Springfield in the coming year.

WAMC

A new police commissioner takes charge of law enforcement in Springfield, Massachusetts this weekend.  Next to the mayor, it is the highest profile job in a city where public safety consistently ranks as a top issue.

WAMC

The mayor of Springfield, Massachusetts is proposing a city budget that he says leaves him in a good mood after years of belt tightening.  The president of the city council is promising a speedy, but thorough review of the spending plans. 

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno is recommending a $582 million budget for the new fiscal year that he says will maintain essential services, result in no layoffs of municipal workers, and fund public safety academies to fill vacancies in both the police and fire departments. 

" I'm in a good mood," said Sarno.

WAMC

A 26-year veteran of the police department in Springfield, Massachusetts has been picked to be the next police commissioner.  It is a high-profile post in a city where public safety has consistently ranked as the number one issue.

A debate rages in Springfield, Massachusetts over who should run the police department – a five-member part-time commission, or a single all-powerful police commissioner.  A showdown vote between the city council and the mayor looms next month.

SPD

The mayor of Springfield, Massachusetts and the city council appear to be on a collision course over control of the police department. Councilors are looking into putting a civilian board in charge of the police, while the mayor wants the department run by a law enforcement professional.

City of Springfield

City Councilors in Springfield, Massachusetts have voted for a big pay raise for the mayor after years of on-again off-again discussion.  They’ve also given initial approval to raise their own pay, with little prior notice. 

   The Springfield City Council gave first-step approval Monday night via voice vote for a $40,000 pay raise for the mayor.  If final approval occurs at the council’s October 21st meeting, the annual salary for the mayor will be $135,000 effective in January 2014.  It would be the first change in the mayor’s salary in 16 years.

City of Springfield

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno’s call for an end to refugee resettlement in the city has drawn a strong rebuttal from several social service agencies, faith- based groups, and anti-poverty activists.

A coalition including representatives of Catholic Charities, Council of Churches of Western Massachusetts, Jobs with Justice and several more groups that work with immigrants met in Springfield Friday and later held a news conference to call for a meeting with Mayor Sarno to discuss his claims that refugee resettlement had become a crisis in Springfield.

Mass. Mayor Wants Delay On Med Marijuana Centers

Jul 24, 2013
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service/Wikimedia Commons Public Domain

The mayor of Springfield, Massachusetts is recommending a moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries until the city has time to plan how they'll operate.

Mayor Domenic Sarno said Tuesday he's instructed officials to study the zoning, public health and public safety issues. He's also asked a city planning official to begin seeking a moratorium with Springfield's planning board.

I-91 upgrade seen affecting western Mass. casino

Apr 1, 2013
Triin Q/Flickr

A planned overhaul of an elevated section of Interstate 91 in Springfield Massachusetts is raising questions about access to two proposed downtown casinos.

MGM is planning an estimated $800 million downtown casino that would front the highway. Penn National Gaming, which is planning an $807 million casino, estimates that 40 percent of its traffic would come from the elevated section of I- 91.

The Republican reports that Stephen P. Crosby, chairman of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission said traffic plans will be a major factor when awarding licenses.

Very little is being said about a federal investigation involving city hall in Springfield, Mass. On Sunday, the Springfield Republican reported that the investigation was under way, and the likely focus is a man who has been part of city hall for decades, political consultant Charles "Charlie" Kingston. Stephanie Barry is a reporter with the Republican, and has been following the story.

Earlier today, WAMC's Paul Tuthill asked Springfield Domenic Sarno about a published report that the FBI is investigating a political consultant's ties to the mayor's office. Tuthill asked if he was aware of an FBI investigation.

The state law that legalized casino gambling in Massachusetts requires voters in a host community to approve the casino development in a referendum.  The law permits cities , such as Springfield, to hold either an at-large  vote or limit it to just the ward where the casino would be built.  WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports.

      

       Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno is adamant the voter referendum on whether there should be a casino built in Springfield will be held city-wide.

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