“THE PEOPLE’S MAYOR”
Mayor Domenic J. Sarno, a native son of the City of Springfield and the longest serving Mayor in the City’s history, has earned a reputation for his commitment to economic development, financial stewardship, and community-based programs to address quality-of-life issues, education and public safety.
A former four-term City Councilor who served as City Council President and as a member of the Springfield Finance Control Board, Sarno was elected to his first term as Mayor on November 6, 2007 and won reelection in both 2009, 2011, 2015 and 2019.
Now in his fifth term, the third four-year mayoral term in the City’s history, Sarno continues to focus on quality-of life issues and maintains a full-time constituent services officer who is responsible for logging and directly responding to citizen complaints. The constituent services officer, who is located in the Mayor's Office, heads up the innovative Springfield Flex Squad, so named because of the organization's strength and flexibility in responding to issues. The constituent services officer forms small working groups comprised of the appropriate city departments to directly address citizen concerns on an individual and case-specific manner.
Continuing to adopt best practices of hiring, recruitment, and inclusion in the work place, Mayor Sarno created the chief diversity and inclusion officer position. This position is the first of its kind in the city and is responsible for taking the lead in the development and implementation of proactive diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives in hiring, career development, and leadership opportunities in support of our city’s strategic plan to continue a working environment where all have an opportunity to succeed.
Public safety continues to be a priority under the Sarno Administration. While maintaining Police Sector meetings in our neighborhoods with our Neighborhood Councils, Sarno has continued to deploy the city’s Police Ordinance Flex Squad, which focuses on quality of life issues throughout our city. Under the leadership of the Police Commissioner, the Springfield Police Department continues to utilize the latest innovations in technology to help counter crime, such as the expansion of the Crime Analysis Division and the implementation of Body Worn Cameras with our police officers, which also provides an element of transparency.
As Mayor, Sarno works daily to improve the future of Springfield's youth by addressing issues of youth and gang violence directly and doing everything that can be done to create a permanent culture of educational excellence for each Springfield Public School student. Sarno has asserted that a residential zip code does not dictate a student’s future. As Chairperson of the Springfield School Committee, he participates in the advancement of a number of school related initiatives and continues to join in the celebration of positive results.
Since taking office, Sarno has put a strong emphasis on education. Our Springfield Public Schools (SPS) have expanded and built upon many successful programs from the Early Education program, the first school district in the Commonwealth to offer full day Pre-K, to maintaining a music and arts teacher and program at every school. There has also been over $750 million in renovations and new school construction throughout the city - the most in the state. The school district continues to utilize technology both in and out of the classroom to help our school department employees, students and their families. The City’s school graduation and dropout rates have steadily improved. In 2011, the city’s graduation rate was just 52.1% and the dropout rate was at 11.7%. In 2021, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) reported that the graduation rate had increased to 86% and the dropout rate was down to 1.9%. This monumental change was a result of hard work and dedication thanks to the Superintendent of Schools and SPS staff, our principals, teachers, students and their families and the School Committee, which Sarno serves as Chair. Together, our schools implemented new strategies, resources, programs and initiatives aimed for the betterment of our students and their families.
On the heels of the City of Springfield’s 375th Birthday Celebration, the City endured a number of unprecedented natural disasters in 2011 including an EF-3 Tornado that carved a 6.2 mile long path of destruction through the City and a freak October Nor'easter that resulted in catastrophic city-wide damaged. If that was not enough, just before the holidays in 2012 a natural gas explosion occurred in the downtown area that leveled a building and caused heavy damage to dozens of nearby buildings.
Mayor Sarno continues to lead a dedicated city team that has been tested and true in responding to natural and manmade disaster. Mayor Sarno’s leadership and experience played a key and pivotal role during the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic as the City of Springfield works with local, state, and federal agencies, and community stakeholders and our local medical institutions, including Baystate Health and Mercy Medical, as we work together to defeat this virus.
At a time of crisis, the true character of a city shines through and Mayor Sarno has remained so proud of the resiliency demonstrated by residents and businesses as well as the many kind acts of neighbors helping neighbors.
The City’s response to these events was comprehensive and resolute. As a result, the City emerged from these disasters and a recession stronger than ever. While managing these crisis events the City remained steadfast in its commitment to strong financial controls and budget discipline. As a result, the City has maintained its highest bond rating in the city’s history from Standard and Poor's Rating Service in January of 2014. The AA- rating was most recently reaffirmed in March 2019, thanks in large part to Sarno and his administrations strong fiscal budgeting practices. The City of Springfield has also been able to stabilize its reserve funds or “rainy day funds”, maintaining a very healthy $43.5 million.
In addition, a March 2019 presentation entitled "The New Wave" was presented by the Springfield Department of Economic Development and the Affiliated Chambers of Commerce of Greater Springfield that highlighted $4.16 billion in private and public investment going on in the City of Springfield, with $400.4 million being new development investments since March 2018. Some of these projects include, MGM Springfield, CRRC, Union Station, Big Y Distribution Center, Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, East Forest Park Library, Riverfront Park and 9-11 Memorial, and numerous construction and improvement projects involving housing, infrastructure, parks, roads, schools, and many more.
Under the Sarno Administration, the city has also taken steps of reducing the city’s carbon footprint by adopting and implementing Springfield’s Climate Action and Resilience Plan, and Green Initiatives. Projects such as installing energy efficient improvements in our schools and public buildings, to planting new trees and installing solar panels have all contributed in the city being able to reduce its energy consumption by 26% over the last decade and saving over $3.5 million a year in energy related expenses. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has recognized the city’s efforts by naming Springfield a Green Community. In addition, the National Arbor Day Foundation has designated the City of Springfield as a “Tree City USA”.
As the City of Springfield positions itself for a post-COVID-19 pandemic recovery, Mayor Sarno and his administration are committed to creating another "Springfield Renaissance".
Before becoming Mayor, Sarno served as a mayoral aide under Mayor Mary Hurley from 1989 to 1991 and worked with District Attorney William Bennett from 1996 to 2002. He served as executive director of the South End Community Center from 2002 until his election as Mayor.
Mayor Sarno is the son of World War II survivors the late Alfonso and Clara Sarno, who immigrated to America and settled in Springfield, where they established Clara's Alterations and Al's Barber Shop. Sarno, who was born in Springfield on May 4, 1963, attributes his respect for all people and personal motto of treating everyone equally and with dignity to his upbringing.
Sarno is married to Carla Sarno. The two are the proud parents of two daughters Cassandra and Chiara.