he new ordinance specifically laid out that the mayor and councilors of the city are also barred from holding any direct or indirect interest in the MGM casino nor can they be employed by the same casino for the aforementioned period of time after they have left their respective offices. Likewise, city department heads and their top aides also face a similar ban, except that theirs only lasts for two years after leaving their respective city jobs.
In addition, the city of Springfield has also established a Casino Liaison Office in accordance with the 2011 Expanded Gaming Act. Part of the office’s duties include coordinating correspondence between employees of MGM Resorts International and numerous city offices, specifically in times of immediate concern, including issues that will likely arise during the construction of the $800 million integrated resort and casino.
The Casino Liaison Office will only hold office through the grand opening of the resort, which is expected to take place in the third quarter of 2017. The office of Mayor Sarno has already tabbed Springfield’s Chief Development Officer Kevin Kennedy to oversee the office. Kennedy will be flanked by James M. Hannifin and retired director of the Department of Public Works Al Chalk and attorney
“Due to the size and complexity of this multi-million dollar project, it is imperative that the City provide a direct point of contact as we move forward with the realization of this tremendous economic development project for the City of Springfield,” Sarno said in a statement. “Both Al and Jim have direct knowledge of the development process and will be instrumental in making sure that when issues arise they can be dealt with directly and in a timely manner to ensure this project stays on track.”