Springfield city councils have debated whether to make changes to an ethics ordinance banning former politicians and city administrators from taking jobs at the MGM casino.
Councilor Mike Fenton, who drafted the casino ethics ordinance unanimously approved by the city council and signed by the mayor in 2015, said it may be out of date and too strict.
"It creates a pool of people who are currently banned from being one of the city's largest employers," said Fenton. "It made sense back then. I think it needs to be adjusted."
The regulation prohibits members of the council and the mayor from having a direct or indirect interest in Springfield Casino or from being employed there for three years after leaving.
In addition, city department heads or anyone with a salary of $ 60,000 and above who report directly to a department head are prohibited from working in the casino for two years after leaving government service.
"The purpose was to create higher ethical standards and thresholds for the casino industry than it entered the Springfield Market," said Fenton.
Six years ago, according to Fenton, MGM needed numerous city permits and permits to build the $ 1 billion resort casino. The Ethics Ordinance was necessary to counter the public perception that elected officials or unelected policy makers could benefit from the actions they took.
"It was there to protest the public perception that city officials were using their authority to advance their professional interests." Fenton said, adding, "It worked very well. There were no scandals."
No current or former councilor has publicly expressed interest in a position with MGM.
Councilor Malo Brown, who was not on the council at the time the casino ethics ordinance was passed, said he wanted to "work on it a little".
"When you created it, it was necessary because of human temptation," Brown said.
Councilor Trayce Whitfield agreed with Brown, saying what the ordinance now reads that many city workers are not even allowed to work part-time at the casino.
"It made a lot of sense back then, I'm not sure it's that relevant now," said Whitfield.
Councilor Tim Allen, who voted for the ordinance in 2015, said MGM is now a recognized part of the Springfield community. But six years ago the casino was controversial and opponents at times expressed themselves to supporters.
"It's a different time now," said Allen.
The discussion on the Ethics Regulation took place at a recent meeting of the Casino Oversight Committee.
Fenton said he would propose specific changes at a future committee meeting.