- Associated Press - Monday, August 7, 2017

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (AP) - It’s called the mayor’s office, but a closer look reveals a mini-museum of memorabilia kept by Mayor Domenic J. Sarno, including photographs, books, personal notes and even a pair of boots he wore for months after the 2011 tornado.

Thousands of items line the desk, floor and walls of the mayor’s office at City Hall, which Sarno proudly calls his second home.

“People are coming to the office and absolutely love it and like to take time and look,” Sarno says while providing a detailed tour to The Republican.

Sarno says he rereads many of the personal notes and cards on his desk for inspiration during the tougher times of being the city’s chief executive officer. He has been mayor for just a few months shy of 10 years.

He knows that some - including his wife and members of his staff - would like him to clean up the office. But he boasts that he knows how to find everything. Asked if there is similar clutter at his home in Forest Park, Sarno answers with an emphatic “no.”

“My wife would not stand for that,” he says. “You know, I have jurisdiction here. But when you see a lot of photos, they are of common people and good people, no matter what creed, color, background, here in the city of Springfield.”

His favorite memorabilia are the many photographs involving family members - his daughters, Cassandra and Chiara, and his wife, Carla, his father and mother, his late uncles and others.

There are seemingly countless photographs of people from all walks of life, ranging from local and national sports and political figures to local personalities such as Mildred “Millie” Dunbar, 96, a local retired veteran. He refers to one small area of his office as the “the Millie Dunbar” corner.

“This is my religious corner over here,” he says, indicating an area with mementos such as notes from Bishop Mitchell T. Rozanski of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield, and his predecessors Timothy McDonnell and the late Joseph F. Maguire.

Another corner is the “Italian Corner,” and Sarno rattles off the many names and nicknames of his Italian family members and friends in pointing out various photographs and other memorabilia.

His desk has his work notes and personal notes sent to him, as well as photographs of noted local people who have died heroically or tragically. Those include Springfield police Officer Kevin Ambrose and U.S. Marine Corps Gunnery Sgt. Thomas Sullivan, both killed in the line of duty, and Kiley Middle School student Marlon Brown, who died of an accidental drowning in 2013.

His desk is also lined with many books, including local histories published by The Republican.

There is no computer on Sarno’s desk.

“I’m not an email person, I’m not a text person, I’m not a computer person,” Sarno says. “I’d rather speak on the phone or face to face - coffee. As you know, I love to write notes and letters.”

Sarno has a story to share about nearly everything in his office.

There is the photograph of former Mayor Mary Hurley on her last day in office with Sarno also pictured, serving his last day as a member of her staff.

There are also photographs with former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, current Gov. Charlie Baker and predecessor Deval Patrick, and many other dignitaries.

Sarno can also be seen with sports celebrities ranging from Basketball Hall of Famer Charles Barkley to Springfield native and NBA star Vinny Del Negro, whom Sarno recalls from years ago when they played basketball and soccer locally.

A picture taken in Maine shows former President George H.W. Bush and his wife Barbara, visiting with the Sarno family seated at a table. The Bushes, Sarno recalls, were fixated on Sarno’s daughter Cassandra, then 1 year old.

“They though she was adorable,” he says. “And they were so gracious.”

He notes that his daughters, Cassandra and Chiara, were just children, ages 10 and 7, respectively, when he took office in 2008, and are now young ladies.

As Sarno moves about his office to show various other photographs, he suddenly turns and says, “My old catcher’s mitt!” He explains how it was returned to him as a birthday gift, and how it made him recall his old High School of Commerce baseball team that had a great record one year until the season was interrupted by a teacher’s strike.

If anyone needs a shovel, there are 21 of them lined up against the walls from various groundbreaking ceremonies, ranging from new schools to the new senior center at Blunt Park.

Regarding the worn boots along one wall, and walkie-talkie radios sitting atop the boots, Sarno says they are special because he wore them for months while dealing with the aftermath of the tornado that caused millions of dollars in damage citywide June 1, 2011.

Sarno has another two years on his current four-year term and hints strongly that he may run again. Can his office fit more memorabilia if his tenure continues?

“We’ll probably have to rearrange it,” he says.


Online: https://bit.ly/2wB8lz4


Information from: The Springfield (Mass.) Republican, https://www.masslive.com/news/

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide