Springfield mayor may face lawsuit against city council over the need for citizen police commission

Hampden County

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The Springfield City Council is threatening legal action against Mayor Domenic Sarno to try and push the implementation of a citizen police commission.

Back in 2018, Mayor Sarno vetoed the city councils order for a civilian board. The city council overrode the veto, but Sarno did not appoint anyone to the civilian board and as a result, the council is now seeking action.

The city council voted 11 to two to accept the free services from two Northampton lawyers, Thomas Lesser and Michael Aleo. Since 2016, the council has passed a number of ordinances to get rid of the police commissioner and establish a civilian board.

A civilian board of commissions would give five Springfield residents, appointed by the mayor, the authority to hire, fire, and discipline Springfield police officers. A police chief would oversee the day to day operations of the department instead of a police commissioner.

Mayor Sarno will submit an ordinance to the city council to strengthen the civilian community police hearing board by granting powers to review police discipline matters and decisions.

In order to bring this dispute to court, the Springfield City Council will have to vote depending on the lawyer’s advice.

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