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Flanagan contemplates run for mayor

William Flanagan Reminder Publications photo by G. Michael Dobbs
By G. Michael Dobbs

Managing Editor

SPRINGFIELD Veteran attorney William Flanagan is considering a move back into the city and a run for the mayor's office and will soon make a decision after he speaks with a number of city employees.

"I'm looking at it," he told Reminder Publications. "Each day I'm leaning more and more to it."

Flanagan, a partner in Egan, Flanagan and Cohen, is a newcomer to politics this would be his first run for office but not to public service. He served as a public defender, a city solicitor in the mayoral administration of William Sullivan and on the Police Commission during Mayor Charles Ryan's administration in the 1960s.

Flanagan, whose law offices are in downtown Springfield, hasn't lived in Springfield for the past 8 to 10 years, he said, and he will be renting an apartment to establish residence.

He said that his concern about the activities of the Finance Control Board helped motivate his interest in running.

Flanagan acknowledged the legality of the Board appointed by the governor and approved by the Legislature to run the city's finances, but he doubts that it was "the right thing to do."

"I don't know how you can do that [establish a Control Board] in a democracy," he added.

He said that if he had been mayor at the time of the creation of the Board, he would have resigned in protest.

He believes he can do a better job of running the city than Ryan.

If elected Flanagan would place great emphasis on restoring the three departments that he believes are the most important to the city's well being: the Police Department, the School Department and the Fire Department.

"The Police Department is the most important department in the city," Flanagan declared.

Flanagan has read the full 400-page report on the management of the Police Department twice and expressed concern that he hasn't found very many people in city government who have read the report.

Making sure the city is safe is essential, Flanagan said.

"I don't think you can educate children until you have a safe city," he said.

He is in favor of making sure police, fire fighters and teachers in the city receive new contracts and raises and said that he would take additional funds from other departments to accomplish that goal.

He said the budgets of departments such as Parks, Veteran Services and others would be reduced to find money for the Police, Fire and School Departments.

"How essential are they [other departments] when we go to the wall?" he asked.

He added that he would even be in favor of closing the city library system if it meant he could fund the three "essential" departments.

Before he makes his final decision, Flanagan said he would speak to senior staff in the Police, Fire and School departments to assess each department's situation.

He said that he hasn't established a timetable for his decision, but he knows he will have to make a decision soon to meet residency requirements.

Describing himself as an "underdog," Flanagan said that he has nothing against Ryan and doesn't know School Committee Vice Chair Thomas Ashe who is also running for mayor.

"Even if I lose, I have a chance to talk about things I want to talk about," he said.