Alert August 14, 2012

Update: Massachusetts Gaming Commission Holds Weekly Meeting

On August 14, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission convened another public meeting. Commissioner McHugh was absent from the meeting. This week’s highlights included:

Administration

Executive Director Update

Juristaff is continuing to call the references of qualified candidates to complete the screening process. Commissioner Stebbins has calls scheduled with two individuals who have already been through the screening process on Friday, August 17, and if the calls go well, those candidates will be invited to one-on-one meetings. The Commission set the closing date of the job posting for September 7, 2012.

Other Hiring Needs

  • The job descriptions for the general counsel and for the deputy director for the Investigations and Enforcement Bureau are being drafted by the commissioners.
  • Juristaff has compiled a number of respondents to the staff attorney position. Commissioner McHugh will be reviewing the top ten (10) recommended resumes and choosing a number — maybe three (3) — of candidates to interview from that group once he returns from vacation.

Employee Manual

  • Commissioner Zuniga walked the Commission through the proposed directory of the Employee Manual.
  • The Commission discussed the general opening statement and whether it should address at-will employees verses union employees. While the Commission will need to include union employees, such as the State Police, there was discussion regarding whether union protections would apply specifically to the Commission or whether they would be carved out for that special assignment. It was decided that they will do further research on how other commissions operate.
  • The Commission discussed many other items in the Employee Manual that will require further research and discussion, including: hiring process and background checks; employment of family members within the Commission (including its agents); the ability of Commission employees to take on other gainful employment outside of the Commission without prior written permission; whether or not Commission employees should be further restricted from involvement in state and local politics than other state employees; temporary alternative work schedules and telecommuting; vacation and personal time; the communications and outreach information technology resource policy; and speaking engagements.

Racing Division

Racing Director

  • Commissioner Cameron provided a brief update on the racing director search. The job description was recently posted in a variety of places and applications are being processed. The job posting will likely remain up through the end of August. Based on the number and quality of applications, Commissioner Cameron will determine whether the assistance of a search firm is needed.

Project Work Plan

Consultant Status Report

  • The RFR allows the Commission to extend the contract for consulting services, which they intend to do. Discussions are ongoing regarding the scope of services that may be relevant to that subsequent phase.
  • Kathy O’Toole will be the point person for negotiating the extension of the contract.

Ombudsman Search Update

  • The list of individuals who will be interviewed for the ombudsman position has been finalized. Those interviews will begin August 15. Finalists will then be selected and be subject to full background searches prior to being introduced to the public.

Finance/Budget Update

  • Commissioner Zuniga indicated that the Commission has been reviewing procedures for the new bank account so costs and revenues can be appropriately segregated.

Public Education and Information

Community and/or Developer Outreach

  • Chairman Crosby is serving as the temporary ombudsman for developers or communities who have particular questions.

Report from Director of Communications and Outreach

  • Ms. Driscoll reported that they are in the Q&A period for the RFR for the logo and website, which will conclude on April 17. In the meantime, they are starting to build the site maps so that the content will be ready to go when the designer and developer come on board.

Western Massachusetts Forum

  • Commissioner Stebbins indicated that questions arose at the Forum regarding the Memorandum of Agreements that will be signed with casino operators. There is some concern that operators will sign but can then walk away without any repercussion.

Research Agenda

  • The Commission is working on the RFI and hopes to get it out within the next week. Harvard School of Public Health is particularly concerned about the compulsive gambling research and are interested in being involved. In general, the idea of a large longitudinal study of the socioeconomic impacts of gambling has been well received.

Application Process

It was decided that applications and application fees should not be accepted from applicants who intend to do business as casino operators in region C, as it is prohibited by law. Commissioner Zuniga suggested having applicants indicate by their signature that they understand they do not intend to apply for region C, without having to indicate interest in region A or B.

The next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, August 21, location TBD. The August 21 meeting agenda will be made available on the Commission’s website.

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Those interested in learning more about Goodwin Procter’s gaming and gambling expertise and practice, and/or the items outlined above, should contact David Apfel or Bob Crawford, co-chairs of Goodwin Procter’s Gaming, Gambling & Sweepstakes Practice.