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Finn plans to step down as president of Town Council

Date: 11/9/2010

Nov. 10, 2010

By Katelyn Gendron

Assistant Editor

WEST SPRINGFIELD -- Town Council President Michael Finn's victory over Gregory Neffinger for state representative of the 6th Hampden District on Nov. 2 has raised questions about the future of the town's legislative body.

Finn explained he will finish his term but plans to step down as president due to his upcoming obligations as a member of the House, effective in January. Council Vice President John Sweeney has declined the presidency and Councilor Kathleen Bourque has thrown her hat into the ring.

"I still think I can be effective [on the Council]. I will be able to bring a lot of what I've learned in Boston [back to West Springfield]," Finn said of his choice to remain on the Town Council through 2011.

He called any expense the town could incur had he chosen to leave the Council entirely would be "unnecessary." However, according to the Town's Charter, a special election would be unnecessary and the vacancy would be filled by the next highest vote getter from the previous election.

Sweeney and Bourque said they were pleased Finn had decided to complete his term as District 3 Councilor, as he's a valuable member of the governing body.

When asked why she's eager to serve as the Council's next president, Bourque replied, "I think I've been ready to serve as president and I'm the senior member as I've served since the Council's inception 10 years ago. I have the knowledge of procedures, just even with my experience over the 10 years it gives you good insight [into the town's needs]."

Sweeney endorsed Bourque, adding that due to his work and family obligations as a father of an 11-month-old daughter, he's unable to step up as president.

"I truly believe Kathy Bourque should be the president of the Council," he said. "Maybe sometime in the future I'll seek to be Council President."

A new president will be chosen upon Finn's formal resignation from the presidency at an upcoming Council meeting.

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