A task force made up of representatives of Southeastern Massachusetts towns pressed the state yesterday for more say in planning for an Indian-run casino in Middleborough, while the Mashpee Wampanoag confronted a leadership crisis, ousting the tribe's chairman after embarrassing revelations about his past.
By a 9-1 vote last night, the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribal Council demanded the immediate resignation of longtime chairman Glenn Marshall, denying his request for a 30-day delay.
Following a two-hour, closed-door session at council headquarters, vice chairman Shawn Hendricks Sr. moved into the chairman's seat, as dictated by the tribe's constitution. Hendricks said the council had been unaware that Marshall had been convicted of rape and misrepresented his military record.
"Now I hope we can bring the tribe back together," Hendricks said. He added the issues were "personal issues of Glenn's" and were unrelated to other issues, such as the tribe's bid for a casino.
Earlier in the day, members of a regional task force, composed of officials from 17 towns and two major planning agencies, told Daniel O'Connell, Governor Deval Patrick's point man on the casino issue, they worry that spillover from the resort facility would burden neighboring towns' roadways, schools, water systems, and police and fire departments.
But they said they came away from their meeting on Beacon Hill more confident that their concerns would be heard.
"The purpose of the meeting was to outline the issues we felt we needed to raise, and I think we did that," David Wojnar, an Acushnet selectman, said after the 90-minute session with O'Connell, who is state secretary of housing and economic development. O'Connell "made it clear to us we will be part of the process every step of the way."
Nancy Yeatts, a Lakeville selectwoman who chairs the task force, said O'Connell was also concerned "with how rapidly the Middleborough proposal is moving forward."
"We came away from the meeting thinking all of our concerns will definitely be addressed," Yeatts said.
O'Connell's spokeswoman, Kofi Jones, said the discussion was part of the procedure Patrick set in February for the state to consider legalized gambling. Jones said the two sides did not discuss any percentage of state revenue the towns might receive from a casino, "but we did discuss reimbursement of cost, quality of life, and public safety issues."
Patrick is expected to announce his position on gambling soon. Rebecca Deusser, Patrick's deputy press secretary, denied a WBZ-TV report last night that Patrick had decided to support casino gambling in the state.
"There's no truth to this," Deusser said. "The governor has made no decision for or against gaming, and the governor will continue his deliberations until he makes a decision in the coming weeks. It's going to be soon."
In Mashpee, Wampanoag leaders planned their next move following troubling reports about Marshall, who stepped aside as chairman Friday, saying he needed to deal with "mental and physical issues," and turned over day-to-day duties to Hendricks.
Several council members called it a sad day for the tribe.
"It wasn't an easy decision," said council member Richard Oakley. "It's unfortunate it happened the way it did. There will be a lot of elders who will be disappointed. Glenn had a lot of elder support. It took the tribe a long time to get where we are, and Glenn did a lot of the work."
Donovan Slack of the Globe staff contributed to this report.