Thomas Walsh: 34
Communications Director, City of Springfield
Thomas Walsh cares deeply about the city of Springfield. He grew up in the historic district of Forest Park and still lives there. “Springfield is a great city. We certainly have our urban challenges, but there are a lot of positive things and positive people who live here,” he said.
Walsh’s commitment to the city led him to leave his position as an attorney at a Hartford firm in 2007 and work as director of Constituent Services for Mayor Domenic Sarno, even though it meant taking a cut in pay. “I wanted to help citizens resolve problems in their neighborhoods,” he said. “I knew what it was like to call City Hall and become frustrated when I didn’t see a resolution to a problem. I want to help make Springfield a better place to live, work, and raise a family.”
Resolving quality-of-life issues is so important to Walsh that he has worked endlessly after hours to ensure that people’s concerns are handled professionally, swiftly, and courteously, with every phone call returned within 24 hours, even if he doesn’t yet have an answer to a problem.
Although he was promoted to communications director in 2008, he continues to answer calls from residents and has an enormous file of letters expressing people’s gratitude on issues they had tried to resolve for up to nine years.
Walsh has served on the board of the Forest Park Civic Assoc. for five years and spent two years as a board member of the Sector H Community Police Team.
Before working for Sarno, he was part of the Ward 6 Democratic Committee for about six years, and during his first year in law school at Massachusetts School of Law, he received the prestigious Hampden County Bar Assoc. Law School Scholarship.
He also created and oversaw Springfield’s first flex squad, through which city departments collaborate to address issues.
“I wear multiple hats because I care a lot about making Springfield a better place,” he said. “It’s very rewarding and fulfilling.”—Kathleen Mitchell