W. Springfield city leaders differ on casino committee plans - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

W. Springfield city leaders differ on casino committee plans

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City leaders are doing their best to not let political differences get in the way of a potential casino at the Big E.

Last month, mayor Gregory Neffinger announced the formation of a casino committee that would consist of his own appointees and people already working with the town council's committee.

Earlier this week, he decided to reduce the size of that group.

"Let the city council committee be made of city councilors and let my committee be made of private citizens," Neffinger told CBS 3.

In making that move, Neffinger removed George Condon and Brian Griffin, two town council members, from his casino committee. The mayor's committee will now be led by former council president Ed Sullivan.

"I would really like to be on the sidelines," said Neffinger. "So, they will dig into all of the issues. We will be hiring consultants that will be advising them and things of that nature."

The reduction in committee members is a big issue for council member Griffin. He said there is a lot of data for a smaller group to process.

"What we thought was the more the merrier," Griffin stated. "If we got together and worked on this project together, it would cut the time constraints down considerably."

Griffin has not seen the final list of Neffinger's committee, but he believes there will be some cross-over between both groups.

"I know the membership will keep us updated and they will certainly keep the mayor updated," said Griffin.

Both sides agree that political differences need to be put aside in order to keep their eye on the Hard Rock Casino prize.

"We want the voters to know that we are serving the best interest in the city of West Springfield," said Neffinger. "Naturally there is always tension between city council and mayors."

"Decisions have been made, agreements have been reached, words have been broken," said Griffin. "But, we need to stay focused on what is right and what people expect."

West Springfield residents will get to hear from Hard Rock representatives next week.

The group will make a presentation to town council on Monday.

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