Councilor Michael Fenton
Michael Fenton (Ward 2)
First Elected: 2009
Committees: Green, chair (ad hoc); State/Federal Relations, chair; Council seat on Animal Control committee.
Education: Providence College (B.A), Western New England (J.D./M.B.A.)
Work: Attorney at Shatz, Schwartz & Fentin.
Prior Public Service: Field Organizer for Steve Grossman for Treasurer, 2010
Other Elections: None
Political Distinctions: Democrat, no known membership in political organizations.
Poll of last contested election: City Council Ward 2 2009 General:
Biomass Repeal: Yes
Police Oversight Board (2011): Yes
For Mayor’s FY2013 Budget: No
For Mayor’s FY2014 Budget: No
Limiting Residency Ordinance Waivers: Yes
Pawn shop regulations: Yes
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Mike Fenton was unopposed in the 2013 election and was not interviewed.
Political Note: By a day, Michael was sworn into office at the age of 22 and became not only the youngest member of the City Council ever, but its first ward councilor in 50 years from the heart of Springfield’s historical Irish community. He won his seat in a titanic battle that pitted his own politically active family against the nephew of former Mayor William Sullivan. Fenton has hurled himself into the job with reckless abandon armed with a keen eye for local politics and the experience of political internships in Providence, Washington and London. A law student for much of his tenure, Fenton has sparred, sometimes forcefully, with the mayor’s office, usually on fiscal matters wielding his legal training in the process. He has excoriated the mayor as well as other councilors, calmly in Council meetings, but more passionately elsewhere, for taking financially irresponsible votes or acting on other items without complete information (something Fenton has himself refused to approve of even on otherwise routine and/or uncontroversial matters). He gained a level of power in 2011 when he served as Chair of the Finance Committee and even succeeded at trimming the mayor’s budget by leading the council to make some of the largest cuts of a mayoral budget in years to keep intact the city‘s rainy day funds. Even after he was rather ignominiously shunted to the doghouse by Council President Ferrera, Fenton has remained relevant. Ferrera gave Fenton no assignments to standing council committee in a break with tradition perhaps because as some have speculated, Ferrera views Fenton as a rival. Either way, being on the outs of committees has not stopped Fenton. In fact, after last year’s committee, fiasco, he defied Ferrera again, this time by refusing to vote for the latter’s presidential bid. This act of protest did not carry a price, but rather exacted one from Ferrera, who gave Fenton better assignments for 2013. In an episode of political irony, the year Ferrera lost reelection was the same that Fenton secured the votes to be President himself, again being the youngest to hold that office. At his swearing in, Fenton promised a year of aggressive legislating. Fenton’s work for Treasurer Steve Grossman make him one of the gubernatorial aspirant’s key people in Western Massachusetts.