Governor Baker, courthouse employees react to proposal for temporary facility

Meanwhile, Mayor Domenic Sarno and other city officials proposed a location for a brand new building.
Published: Jul. 5, 2022 at 10:34 PM EDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) - Governor Charlie Baker and Roderick Ireland Courthouse employees are reacting to a proposal made by the state’s Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance, or DCAMM.

The proposal recommends leasing a temporary facility for 5 to 7 years while the current courthouse is renovated. Meanwhile, Mayor Domenic Sarno and other city officials proposed a location for a brand new building.

This comes as the current building is set to reopen Wednesday after a 5-day deep cleaning was scheduled to address mold-related concerns.

Courthouse employees told us that they will be starting business at 9 a.m. Wednesday, which is an hour late, to give them time to get everything back in working order. They say they are frustrated by the lack of communication from DCAMM, saying they were not even aware of the department’s proposal.

“I’m cautiously optimistic that they are going to do what they said they’re going to do,” Register of Probate Rosemary Saccomani told us. “I saw them cleaning the carpets and dusting and wiping things down, so how thorough they are, we’ll see when we get there tomorrow.”

This comes just days after DCAMM released a request for proposal for a 5 to 7 year lease to temporarily relocate employees. That, combined with the cost for renovations at the current building, would total about $170 million, something Mayor Domenic Sarno said “makes no financial sense, nor is it timely or cost effective.”

Register of Probate Rosemary Saccomani spoke with Western Mass News over the phone, saying she is frustrated because employees of the courthouse have not even seen the proposal made by DCAMM.

“As a stakeholder, we should have some kind of communication with DCAMM and the Trial Court in regards to any proposals just because, quite frankly, it’s embarrassing to hear about it second, third, fourth hand,” she said.

Mayor Sarno, along with Peter Pan Bus Lines Chairman Peter Picknelly, made a proposal to build a brand new courthouse on the north side of the Connecticut River which would be completed within four years.

Governor Charlie Baker visited Springfield Tuesday, saying DCAMM has a process they have to follow.

“They’re doing what I think is the right thing,” Governor Baker said, “which is, they’re making sure that the work that needs to get done to ensure that the works done to repair the current courthouse happen and happen in a reasonably appropriate period of time.”

Saccomani told us that employees have outgrown the current building, and she hopes for more transparency from the state going forward.

“I hope that the Trial Court and DCAMM make a decision that’s smart for not only the citizens of Hampden County that are going to be paying for this, but for the safety of the people that work there as well, and that they make a smart decision and that they keep us in the loop, they communicate with us as far as what’s going on,” Saccomani said.

Governor Baker said the design work to address the issues at the current courthouse should be completed in the fall before he leaves office.