One day before the deadline for final appointments to the state’s new gambling commission, state officials named a retired Appeals Court judge and a former Springfield city official to the final two seats on the five-member panel.
The new members are James F. McHugh, who served on both the Superior Court and the Massachusetts Appeals Court from 1985 until his retirement earlier this year, and Bruce Stebbins, the business development administrator for the city of Springfield. Stebbins is a former Springfield city councilor and was an aide to former president George H.W. Bush, according to a biography supplied by the state.
Their selections were announced today in a joint statement from Governor Deval Patrick, Attorney General Martha Coakley and Treasurer Steve Grossman, who, under the law, made the picks jointly. The three officials were also responsible for choosing one commissioner each as individual appointments.
The new members join chairman Steve Crosby, appointed by Patrick; former New Jersey Lieutenant Colonel Gayle Cameron, appointed by Coakley; and Enrique Zuniga, appointed by Grossman, on what is formally known as the Massachusetts Gaming Commission.
Neither of the final two appointments have “experience in legal and policy issues related to gaming,” as one of those appointments is required to have under the casino law. In a bid to satisfy the law, the three appointing officials decided that Cameron, who oversaw investigations of Atlantic City casinos, will serve as one of the joint appointees to the board. McHugh will serve as Coakley’s pick; the attorney general was required under the law to choose someone experienced in “criminal investigations and law enforcement.”
“With these last two appointments, the Gaming Commission is strong, complete, and ready to get on with the business of creating jobs for Massachusetts,” Patrick said in a statement. “James McHugh and Bruce Stebbins are excellent additions and I look forward to the thoughtful discharge of the work the commission has before it.”
The full commission will gather for the first time today to meet with reporters.
The new panel will soon begin to hire staff, establish an office, and begin hosting public meetings. One of its most critical early duties will be to develop the criteria against which casino development proposals will be judged in the competition for state licenses. The commission will award development rights for up to three gambling resorts and one slot parlor, though it is not required to issue all of the licenses it controls.
McHugh, of Boston, a Navy veteran, is a former adjunct faculty member at Boston College Law School and Northeastern University School of Law. He received an undergraduate degree from Brown University and graduated magna cum laude from Boston University School of Law. He has presided over more than 600 civil and criminal trials.
Stebbins, of Springfield, has worked for the City of Springfield since 2010. He has previously worked at the National Association of Manufacturers and the Massachusetts Office of Business Development. He received an undergraduate degree from The George Washington University and has completed a management program at the Kennedy School of Government.