|By Carley Dangona|
WEST SPRINGFIELD At its special meeting on Jan. 28, the Town Council voted unanimously against the appointment of Michael LaRiviere as a replacement for David Partridge on the Planning & Construction Committee (PCC).
Mayor Gregory Neffinger recommended LaRiviere to replace Partridge after choosing not to reinstate Partridge after his PCC term expired Jan. 1.
Neffinger stated, "Without a doubt, Michael LaRiviere had all the qualifications required to become a member of the PCC he was the guy. Who's more qualified to evaluate [PCC issues] than a registered architect?"
He added, "The Town Council couldn't get past the David Partridge issue. I think the way they treated LaRiviere was very poor. Volunteers don't want to be used as a political pawn."
Councilor George Kelly said, "I had mixed feelings about the decision. LaRiviere is a very qualified, very smart young man who cares about the town," adding that the PCC didn't seem the best fit for LaRiviere, but that he would like to see LaRiviere serve the town on another committee. "I think the decision was the best thing we could do for the community," he added.
It was the opinion of some councilors that an engineer would be best qualified to replace Partridge since his absence left the PCC without one.
"I wouldn't limit the search to that condition," Kathleen Bourque, council president, said. "As for LaRiviere I would love to serve with him on the council. He's very skilled with capital planning."
Neffinger stated that he was contacted Jan. 29 by a potential volunteer [for another committee] who revoked his or her name from the list of candidates in the wake of the Jan. 28 meeting.
Councilor Robert Mancini said, "What I was challenging was the impact of the mayor's decision to remove Partridge on the construction of the new high school. There's a year and a half left on that project David's worked on it since the beginning. Why remove the guy? Just because they got into a catfight? Everybody has disagreements we still have a project to finish."
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