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Town Council’s special meeting postponed due to lack of quorum

Date: 12/27/2013

By Carley Dangona

WEST SPRINGFIELD – The attendance of only two of nine councilors caused a special meeting of the Town Council to be postponed.

“We know that two town councilors said that they’re going to be at home and one is at work in West Springfield, so we could have had a quorum,” Mayor Gregory Neffinger said.

On Dec. 16, Neffinger called a special meeting of the Town Council for Dec. 19. A quorum was not established since only at-large councilor Bruce Gendron and District 3 councilor George Condon III were present. After a brief recess, Condon adjourned the meeting at 6:10 p.m. and rescheduled it for Dec. 30 at 7 p.m.

The mayor stated that he tried to put the three items on the agenda for the Dec. 16 meeting, but that Town Council President Kathleen Bourque would not add them, requiring him to call a special meeting.

The three items on the agenda were a discussion and vote regarding health insurance benefits, an acknowledgement and referral of the Merrick Rezoning Petition and a presentation of the preliminary plans for an extension of Agawam Avenue.

Neffinger said that Chapter 32 B of the health insurance proposal could potentially save the town more than $800,000. He said the Health Insurance Advisory Council has been working with the unions for the past six months to find an alternative to adopting the chapter, but no agreement has been reached.

“Only 2 percent of the employees would have been affected potentially negatively and we would have saved over $800,000. I feel that it was very important for me to present it to the Town Council [and] have them send it to subcommittee if they want to. The next mayor that comes in, I’m not sure if he would either take this up as initiative or even understand all the work we’ve done for six months,” Neffinger said.

“The mayor stated that two councilors were at home and another was down the street at work? How would he know that? Is there some kind of surveillance going on? That is very disturbing and possibly illegal,” Bourque said.