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Fenton sworn into another term as City Council president with busy month ahead

Date: 1/7/2016

SPRINGFIELD – City Councilor Michael Fenton was sworn into another term as president of the body on Jan. 4 and told Reminder Publications that January would be a busy month for the council.

Fenton said the council would find a replacement for retiring City Clerk Wayman Lee. He explained that while the city’s charter allows the mayor to hire most department heads without the council’s approval, there are two exceptions, one being the city clerk.

Although Mayor Domenic Sarno made the announcement in November that he nominated Attorney Anthony Wilson for the job, Fenton explained it is up to the council to nominate and approve Lee’s successor.

The City Council will also take the final votes to allow the construction of the MGM Springfield casino to proceed in January. Fenton said there would be two planning meetings on Jan. 19 and 20, followed by a site walk.

There would be two hearings on Jan. 25 and 26, after which a vote would be taken.

“If this all goes positively, it will be all the permission they need,” Fenton said.

When asked about the Massachusetts Gaming Commission then taking a vote on the changes to the casino plan, Fenton said that body has already approved the controversial changes. He said while the commission had stated it would take its lead from the city in regardless to approval, it has taken the vote that MGM required to move forward.

The vote the council will take will allow MGM to begin construction on its downtown site.

He added the company already has the approvals it needs to complete the demolition of the site.