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’s review of legislation to clear the way for Deputy Chief Lawrence Akers to become Police Superintendent had its surprises. One of the biggest surprises was for Akers himself, who thought the home rule petition on his behalf would just let him serve until 70.
Ahead of the ascendence of Deputy Chief Lawrence Akers to Police Superintendent, the Springfield City Council considered a batch of legislation in an odd Tuesday meeting to smooth things over. Substantial changes to police leadership ordinances yielded a fractious, heated and, at times, bizarre debate.
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.
The Springfield City Council authorized the renaming of a McKnight neighborhood street after former Ward 4 Councilor E. Henry Twiggs. It was poignant recognition of their late colleague, whose activism contributed to the revival of the ward representation. In a more ironic turn, the Council punted on a new labor contract for police supervisors.
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.
Was the defining issue at the October 16 meeting of the Springfield City Council for naught? It certainly seems possible. The debate collapsed into confusion and hand-wringing until its lead sponsor, Council President Jesse Lederman untied all the knots.
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.
On June 20, for the first time since the shroud of the coronavirus fell upon Springfield, city councilors confronted Mayor Domenic Sarno, faccie e faccie, in chambers as he presented his budget for new fiscal year.
Although meetings have become much more fluid since going hybrid last year, the Springfield City Council’s outing hit a snag on Monday. The body trudged through a permit for the Student Prince to close Fort Street during summers.