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McKnight Neighborhood Meeting 03/08/16

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Board Meeting:  March 08, 2016

Approved April 12, 2016

Minutes McKnight Neighborhood Council

Meeting called to order by President Lamont C at 6:00 pm

Board Members Present (11): Lamont E Clemons, (Pres), Lloyd A Creswell, (Asst Sec/Clerk), Tawreak Eddington, (Asst Treas),

Brandi Gamble, (Sec/Clerk), Walter Kroll, Bryan McFarland, Elizabeth O’Gilvie, Synthia Scott- Mitchell, Elizabeth Stevens,

Ben Swan, Jr, Paul Swenson

Board Members Not Present (4): Jack Dubose, Art Jones, Colin Kirby, (Treas),  Henry Payne, (Vice Pres)

Administrative Staff:   Elizabeth Lederman


Neighborhood Members:  Roberta Kilkenney, Stephen Gray, David Gaby, Rev Michael Divine, Todd Ostrowski, Allison Messier, Jim Boone, Giselle Vizcarrondo

Guests:  Melissa Nazarro, SPD Dispatch Director; Kamran Ali

Pres Lamont C welcomed those attending the meeting; Board and audience introductions followed.  Pres Lamont C presented official McKnight logo pins as a gift to Board members as a gesture of appreciation for their dedication.  Additional pins available which the Board can decide how to be used in the future.



  • Jim Boone, Preservation Trust, presenting plans for the upcoming McKnight house tour event.
  • This year marks the 40th anniversary of McKnight becoming an official historical district, both in the local and national registries. In recognition of this, the Preservation Trust is sponsoring a house tour in McKnight on Sunday, June 12, to coordinate with the spring block party on June 11.
  • Preservation Trust house tours have been going on in the City for 35 years in the various historical districts in the city, and usually draw 300-400 people. The events help to draw people into the neighborhoods and promote their history and value.
  • The McKnight tour will include eight houses and two gardens, and will take place from 1pm to 5pm.
  • The Trust will be participating in the block party the day before, giving walking tours of the neighborhood, and promoting the house tour scheduled for the next day at a table with brochures and tickets for the event.
  • Suggested that the neighborhood Council might think about planning a celebratory event later in the year celebrating the 40th Forest Park, who celebrated their 40th anniversary last year, had a dinner honoring founding members and invited the press and various city officials.
  • Melissa Nazarro, Springfield Police Department Dispatch Director, explaining how the Dispatch department operates, and how callers can most effectively interact with Dispatch operators and get follow through on their calls.
  • Dispatch department is actually a part of Springfield City departments, and does not work for the Police Department.
  • There are 41 full time dispatchers—32 who work out of the police facility on Pearl Street, and 9 dispatchers who are at the fire department facility on Roosevelt. Both sets of dispatchers work 24/7. For each shift, there is a minimum of 3 call takers and 2 dispatchers working at the police department, and 2 call takers and 2 dispatchers working at the fire department location.
  • Dispatchers are given three months training—they must have a diploma or GED, a minimum of one year full time previous employment, and one year of experience with computer and phone equipment. They are paid $19/hr.  They are required to participate in 16 hours of additional training each year.  Dispatchers are required to live in the city, however Ms Nazarro was a granted a waiver of residency and does not live in Springfield.
  • Dispatchers handle all 911 and non-emergency calls. Statistics from 2014 included 89,000 calls to 911—64% from cell phones and 36% from land lines.  All fire calls are routed to the fire department, and medical calls are routed to AMR ambulance company.  Medical calls are handled through a specific protocol and dispatchers remain on the line until responders arrive and are trained to give life-saving instructions if necessary.
  • 911 calls are answered before non-emergency calls. Calls sit in queue until they are answered.  If local 911 call center is busy, call may bounce back to State Police to be answered and assessed, but will eventually be routed to local call center.
  • Questions from Board and audience included what should the callers expectation be when they call in—because many residents report having difficulty with dispatchers who seem unresponsive or dismissive of the complaint they are reporting; and many times there is no apparent police response that results from their call.



  • Ms Nazarro said that no dispatcher should be negative in their interaction. All call complaints are put into a queue for the police to respond—known as a CFS, call for service.  And the CFS remains active until the complaint is investigated.  Radio operators send calls out to police officers according to the priority that has been assigned to the CSF by the dispatcher who took the call.
  • All fire calls are priority 1. Police calls are handled according to a protocol developed by the police department which dispatchers use when assigning priority.
  • The expectation of the caller should be that the dispatcher accurately takes the information you are reporting and asks you appropriate questions in order to make sure your call is ultimately answered as quickly and effectively as it should be.
  • Department hired a quality assurance manager in 2012 who monitors ongoing performance of dispatchers and ongoing training. Ms Nazarro encourages the public to call her and discuss any problems and handed out her business card.
  • Neighborhood resident Todd O inquired about ongoing meetings that he was told by the Mayor’s office were being held with Police and Dispatch to solve the ongoing customer service problem and call responses. Ms Nazarro said she was unaware of any specific meetings; however her department does meet regularly with the Police department.
  • When to call 911 vs the non-emergency? If the event is happening right now–such as a suspected prowler in someone’s yard, or cars racing on your street—you should call 911, even though it might not be a life-threatening event. Dispatchers will assign priority.
  • When should you call back because there is no apparent response? All CFS’s (calls for service) are displayed on monitors which mark them as pending (call received), dispatched (officer responding), or closed.    The only one who can close a call is the police officer who responded to the incident, or if the caller calls back to report that the problem is no longer an issue.   If you feel the call is not being answered quickly enough, or it has escalated in some way, call back.  The dispatcher will be able to see the status of your original call and let you know where it is at in the process, or change its priority if necessary.
  • Ms Nazarro volunteered to return in six months to revisit the many issues raised and assess with the Council whether or not any improvement is occurring.



  • SECRETARY’S REPORT: (Brandi Gamble)
  • Sec Brandi G submitted minutes of Board meeting Feb 09, 2016, and Exec Board meeting Feb 23, 2016; for review.

MOTION: (EO moved) to accept as presented; (LAC seconded); (LEC call for discussion); (LEC called the question):  Motion carried unanimously.

  • TREASURER’S REPORT: (Colin Kirby) Treas Colin K absent.

(Tabled—discussion of treasurer’s report and related issues moved to executive session following regular Board meeting.)



  • School Zone Lights for Rebecca Johnson School
  • Rep Walter K reporting that the Police department is assessing the traffic situation, and has placed their speed tracking monitor in front of the school to slow down traffic for the time being. Traffic will be working with the Rebecca Johnson Principal on the light installation, deciding what configuration is needed and procuring the funding.  The school has a third-party traffic study that was done in conjunction with the Walking School Bus project that will help expedite the funding process.  Parks Department will be trimming the trees, and Eversource is replacing all the burned out street lights.



  • May Annual Meeting Planning—Community Service Award Nominations
  • Agreement to send out requests for nominations for this year’s community service awards through Facebook, the website, and the email list. Temporary ad hoc committee formed to plan for the annual meeting and review nominations and present at the April meeting for a Board vote—Reps Tawreak E, Synthia M, and Elizabeth O.

Admin staff will forward nominations received to committee.

  • Spring Newsletter Planning
  • May 15 established as deadline for submission of articles. The following people committed to contributing articles:
  • Rep Elizabeth O—food system issues
  • Rep Bryan M—social media
  • Rep Walter K—article summarizing Dispatch presentation and related issues
  • Neighborhood member David G—Kibbe house


  • June Block Party Planning—June 11
  • Rep Walter K, volunteered to chair temporary ad hoc Block Party committee, provided a checklist of tasks for the Board to review. Requesting that Board members step up to manage various aspects of the block party, i.e. music, tables and vendors.
  • Rep Lloyd C suggested that the Board have McKnight tee shirts to wear at the block party. Agreement that these could be purchased by Council if budget allows, otherwise everyone can pay for their own if they want one.
  • June Elections— Election Commission Appointments & Chairman Election by Board
  • Agreement that bylaws are vague about the make-up of the election commission. Agreement by Board that only non-candidates during this election cycle should constitute commission.  Rep Bryan M volunteered to serve on commission, and Reps Elizabeth O and Lamont C also agreed to serve

MOTION: (BM moved) that above designated Board members serve on the election commission; (EO seconded); (LEC call for discussion); (LEC called the question):  Motion carried unanimously.

MOTION: (BS moved) that Rep Bryan M serve as Chair of the election commission; (EO seconded); (LEC call for discussion); (LEC called the question):  Motion carried unanimously.

  • Sheriff’s Debate Request for May
  • Keshawn Dodd from AIC has requested to partner with McKnight in staging debate for May. Request referred to Debate Committee Chair Paul S.



  • Rail Trail—Chair, Elizabeth Stevens
  • Chair Elizabeth S requesting that a section of the trail be cleaned as the Council project for the Keep Beautiful event this year.
  • Public Safety Committee—Chair, Walter Kroll
  • Chair Walter K encouraging people to attend C-3 meetings because a lot of networking goes on related to community issues beyond just the police issues. They also maintain a community calendar to which events can be contributed.
  • Good Neighbor & Food Access Committees—Chair, Elizabeth O’Gilvie
  • Chair Elizabeth O reporting that she brought muffins to all the crossing guards in McKnight, Six Corners, and Carew Street.
  • Community meeting tentatively scheduled for late April/early May to get information out to the public about the grocery store project and other food justices issues and activities.
  • She is also readying her corner lot garden on Bay and Dartmouth and invites residents who want to join in to use

planting space there.

  • Bylaws Committee—Chair, Ben Swan, Jr
  • Chair Ben S reporting that the first meeting to revise the bylaws will be held on Saturday March 19 at 200 pm at Springfield Partners on State Street.
  • Beautification Committee—Chair, Bryan McFarland
  • Chair Bryan M reporting that he has $40 remaining from the funds approved for holiday decorations. Requesting he retain those funds for use on future beautification projects.

MOTION: (WK moved) that Rep Bryan M retain the funds as described above for future use by the Beautification committee; (LAC seconded); (LEC call for discussion); (LEC called the question):  Motion carried unanimously.


NEW BUSINESS—Open to the Floor

  • Neighborhood member Allison M expressing concerns that the business conducted at the meetings does not allow enough time for neighborhood members to communicate with the Board. She suggested that some open forum time might be set aside periodically at future meetings to help facilitate communication between the Board and neighborhood members.  Rep Ben S explained that the intent of the guest portion of the meeting was to facilitate conversation and activity which addressed the concerns and interests of the broader neighborhood; however all meetings did not include guest presentations and some thought could be given to intentionally devoting that time for open forums during future meetings.  Rep Elizabeth O agreed and said she would give this idea consideration in planning for the May annual meeting.


8:00 pm:  Meeting adjourned.   MOTION:   (BM moved) to adjourn into executive session; (PS seconded); (LEC called); Motion unanimous.

Submitted for approval by Elizabeth Lederman, Administrative Staff, 04/12/16