Springfield casino phase two begins, criteria to move on - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Springfield casino phase two begins, criteria to move on

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Springfield is another step closer in selecting a casino developer for the city.

Mayor Domenic Sarno announced his selections for an advisory committee Thursday afternoon.

All three interested developers, MGM, Penn National and Ameristar, made it through the first phase of the process.

"The primary job of this committee is going to be to flush out all the details that we all want to know about," said Springfield's Chief Economic Development Officer Kevin Kennedy.

There are many details to pour over before the city selects one or more casino developers to move forward in their casino process.

But the mayor won't be doing it alone.

"They will give me an interesting perspective, working with my internal team, what they feel are strong points or weak points of the proposals," Mayor Domenic Sarno said.

He's appointed a six-person advisory committee who will help facilitate public meetings and scour each phase two proposal from the three developers.

"They all bring a different aspect to the table, whether it's criminal justice, judicial, neighborhoods, business community, economic development," Sarno said.

The phase two applications are due by Dec. 14.

Casino developers must answer a number of questions including how they can bump up tourism, create well paying jobs for city residents, support small businesses, give a cash-flow projection and come up with solutions for any negative effects a casino could have.

"At that point in time we look to move forward whether it's with one operator or more on host agreement aspects and then move forward to work with the City Council on putting forth the host community agreement," Sarno said.

By the end of January, the city expects to have narrowed it down.

"With any competition, usually someone rises above the rest," Kennedy said.

City officials expect to enter into a community host agreement with a casino operator by the end of April with a vote on a city ballot by June of next year.

The Advisory committee is made up of six people:

Judge Nancy Dusek-Gomez: The Honorable Nancy Dusek-Gomez retired from the Massachusetts Trial Court in 2011 after 25 years as a Justice of the Springfield District Court. Administrative positions included appointment as presiding justice of the District Court of Eastern Hampshire and Presiding Judge of the Specialty Court Session: Recovery with Justice, a session created to serve the unique needs of probationers suffering from mental health issues.  Prior to her appointment to the bench, she worked as an assistant district attorney in the Northwestern District specializing in civil rights and child sexual assault cases.  She was a trial attorney for indigent criminal defendants in Hampden County.  She taught in English at West Jr. High in Walpole, MA, and English as a second language and adult basic education in Cambridge, MA.    

Judge Dusek-Gomez is a board member of The Gray House, Inc. in Springfield, Jericho, in Holyoke and serves on the Executive Committee of The St. Thomas More Society, Diocese of Springfield.  She was named "Woman of the Year" in 1987 by the Greater Springfield Chapter of N.O.W., 1992 "Woman of the Year", Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce, 2000 "Catholic Woman of the Year", Diocese of Springfield, 2002 "Outstanding Catholic Jurist" by the St. Thomas More Society, and crowned Ms. Senior Massachusetts in 2012.  She has two daughters and three grandchildren. 

Kathleen Kane: Kate Kane, CLU is a Managing Director with The Springfield Group of The Northwestern Mutual Financial Network in Springfield, Massachusetts.  She has worked for Northwestern Mutual since 1986.   Her career with Northwestern Mutual includes positions as office manager, recruiter, compliance specialist, and Director of New Representative Training and Development.  She became a Financial Representative in 1999, a Field Director in 2001, and a Managing Director in 2003.  She previously served as the President of the Woman's Partnership; a Division of the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce.  Kane also serves as Vice-Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Sisters of Providence Health System, President of the Board of Directors of the Women's Fund of Western Massachusetts, Board Member of the College of Business at Western New England University and as the Treasurer of the Board of Trustees for the Springfield Museums Association. In 2011, Kane was named Woman of the Year by the Professional Women's Chamber of the Associated Chambers of Commerce of Greater Springfield.

 Dr. Haskell O. Kennedy, Jr.: Haskell Kennedy, Jr., retired in 2009, after working for the state of Connecticut Department of Labor for 20 years serving most recently as the director of the office of diversity and equity programs where he reported directly to the Commissioner of the Department of Labor for the development and implementation of the agency's affirmative action program for more than 850 employees. Mr. Kennedy serves on the board of directors for the Springfield YMCA and served previously on the board of directors for the Martin Luther King Community Center.  He is a Member of the National Forum of Black Public Administrators and a mediator with the Springfield Mediation Project. 

 Kevin Kennedy: Kevin Kennedy was appointed by Mayor Domenic J. Sarno in Dec. 2011 to serve as Springfield's chief development officer. Kennedy served previously as the chief economic development assistant to U.S. Representative Richard E. Neal, D-Springfield, since 1989, advancing several major development projects for the city of Springfield including the $17 million revitalization of Springfield's State Street Corridor, construction of the new $63 million federal courthouse, reuse of the former federal building in Springfield and the $110 million redevelopment of the former Technical High School as the state data center.

 Attorney Jill McCarthy-Payne: Attorney McCarthy-Payne is a professor of criminal justice at American International College. She worked previously as an assistant city solicitor for the city of Springfield, assistant district attorney for the Hampden Country District Attorney's office and as an adjunct professor at Springfield College. Attorney McCarthy-Payne is also a board member of the Education/Research/Training Correctional Association of Massachusetts, a member of the Hampden County Bar Association, the National Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences and the American Correctional Association.

 Joanne Morales-Harrison: Morales–Harrison is a community re-entry unit manager with the Hampden County Sheriff's Department.  She served previously on the Springfield Police Commission from 2004-2006. She has been employed by the Hampden County Sheriff's Department since 1992 and has worked there as a correctional officer, correctional caseworker, substance abuse counselor and after incarceration coordinator.  She is a member of the New North Citizen's Council board of directors and previously served as chairperson of the Sector A Beat Management Team.  Morales-Harrison also served as a mayoral appointee to the city's community police hearings board.

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