SPRINGFIELD—Mayor Domenic Sarno and the City Council averted a political crisis Monday by agreeing to sunset what now amounts to suspensions of key parts of the Police Commission ordinance. The change ostensibly arose to ensure Deputy Police Chief Lawrence Akers, who would be the city’s first Black police leader, will have the same powers his four predecessors had.
However, the pair of ordinances, which reallocate most of the Police Commission’s power other than to mete out discipline, prompted sharp pushback.
The Springfield City Council met for its first regular meeting in several weeks. The meeting also had to incorporate agenda items from a hearings meeting after it failed to go forward as planned. A few items, including homeless program funding and supplemental budget requests received scrutiny.
Newly (re-)installed Springfield City Council President Michael Fenton has released committee assignments for the body’s 2024 session. Aside from accounting for new members, the allocation of seats and chairs was not a radical departure from 2023. Still, the choices reflect the balance and tone Fenton is trying to strike with his return to the dais.
SPRINGFIELD—The City Council’s first meeting of 2024 quickly morphed into an opportunity for councilors to quench their inquisitive thirst for a wide range of departmental libations. Although in attendance for fairly mundane items, department representatives faced a barrage of questions. In at least case, a police gang suppression grant, it was councilors first chance to raise the record homicide count last year.
As the 2023 municipal cycle closed, the Springfield-based SuperPAC that played a big—or at least pricy—role in its home city’s election made another move out east. A new filing added Haverhill races to Hispanic Latino Leaders Now’s list.
SPRINGFIELD—After an undernoted campaign that turned caustic and accusatory in its dying days, Mayor Domenic Sarno triumphed over at-large City Councilor Justin Hurst by a 15-point margin. This was a race many had foresaw ever since Hurst, whom Sarno once endorsed, began to tilt away from the city’s longest-serving mayor. But the challenge came later than some wanted and thus without backing he would need to win.
The SuperPAC homecare mogul Cesar Ruiz funded took a prominent role in municipal preliminaries. The Hispanic Latino Leaders Now Independent Expenditure Political Action Committee (HLLN) filed a new report with state campaign finance regulators that shows it is spending to support a clutch of City Council candidates.
As the Springfield 2023 cycle meanders to conclusion, only a few candidates appear to be dominating the air war. Several at-large City Council candidates, including several who advertised during the preliminary, have also bought ad time. In the mayor’s race, however, the incumbent, Domenic Sarno, largely has the air to himself as October concludes.
The Hispanic Latino Leaders Now Independent Expenditure PAC (HLLN) upended the electoral mood, if not the results, when it began spending thousands of dollars to boost Latino candidates, including State Rep Orlando Ramos, who failed to advance in the race against Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno.
SPRINGFIELD—In the waning weeks of the preliminary campaign here, candidates for the five at-large City Council seats face a big challenge: standing out. Two Council retirements and a competitive mayoral race has yielded a historic 20 candidates for the September 12 at-large preliminary.