|55th Mayor of Springfield|
January 7, 2008
|Preceded by||Charles Ryan|
|Member of the Springfield City Council from the At-large District|
May 4, 1963 |
Springfield, Massachusetts, U.S.
|Alma mater||American International College
Westfield State University (B.A.)
Sarno was born in Springfield, Massachusetts to Alfonso and Clara Sarno, who were Italian immigrants and small business owners. He graduated from the High School of Commerce. He studied political science at American International College for some time, but ultimately, graduated from Westfield State University with a degree in psychology.
Sarno worked as an aide to Springfield Mayor Mary Hurley from 1989-1991. From 1996-2002 he was an aide to Hampden County District Attorney William Bennett. Sarno later worked as executive director of the South End Community Center from 2002-2007. During this time, he also served as an at-large member of the Springfield City Council. Sarno was first elected to the city council in 1999, and he was subsequently elected to three more two-year terms. 
In 2007, Sarno announced that he would challenge incumbent Mayor Charles Ryan, who was serving his fifth non-consecutive term in office. During the campaign, Sarno focused on Springfield’s high crime rate, while Ryan argued that he had helped to prevent the city from falling into bankruptcy. On November 6, 2007, Sarno won 53% of the vote to Ryan’s 47%.
Sarno ran for reelection in 2009, facing City Councilor Bud Williams. Sarno received 69% of the vote to Williams’ 29%. In that same year, Springfield voters approved a change to the city’s charter, which extended the mayor’s term in office to four years. This provision did not, however, take effect until the 2011 municipal elections.
In 2011, Sarno won reelection to a four-year term. He defeated City Councilor Jose Tosado by winning 71% of the vote. While Tosado won several key labor union endorsements during the campaign, Sarno touted his fiscal management and response to the 2011 New England tornado outbreak.
When Sarno took office in 2007, Springfield was in the midst of a financial crisis. The city suffered from a shrinking industrial tax base, rising budget deficits, and the fact it had been downgraded to junk bond status by credit rating agencies. In 2004, the Massachusetts General Court and Governor Mitt Romney responded to this financial crisis by giving the city a no-interest $52 million loan. In return, a state-run Finance Control Board took authority over almost all municipal functions. During Sarno’s first term in office, the city’s financial standing improved, with Moody's Investors Service upgrading its bond rating. In January 2009, Governor Deval Patrick signed legislation disbanding the Finance Control Board and giving Springfield ten additional years to repay the loan.
Prior to elimination of the Finance Control Board, the body occasionally clashed with Sarno. Significantly, in 2007 the board voted in favor of conducting a full search for a new police commissioner after Edward A. Flynn left to become Milwaukee police chief. Sarno favored immediately appointing Springfield's Deputy Chief William Fitchet, who eventually won the position.
One of the most important moments of Sarno’s second term came on June 1, 2011 when Springfield was struck by the 2011 New England tornado outbreak, which left three hundred people injured in the city and a significant amount of damage on Main Street. 500 people were left homeless and in temporary shelter in the MassMutual Center.
After Massachusetts passed an expanded gambling law in 2011, several casino companies began competing for the single casino license available for Western Massachusetts. Sarno’s administration set a January 2013 deadline for companies to submit plans to the city. MGM Resorts International and Penn National Gaming met this deadline. In May 2013, Sarno selected MGM as the city’s sole competitor for the Western Massachusetts casino license. As part of a host agreement, MGM pledged to pay the city $25 million per year in return for permission to build an $800 million resort in the city’s South End.
- "Mayor Domenic J. Sarno". 2012-05-03. Retrieved 2013-05-13.
- "Sarno wins in Springfield; Lukes leads tight Worcester race". Associated Press. 2007-11-07.
- "November 3, 2009 Municipal Election Returns". 2011-05-10. Retrieved 2012-11-01.
- Rodrique Ngowi (2011-11-09). "Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno cruises to victory". Associated Press.
- "November 8, 2011 Municipal Election Vote Totals". 2012-05-03. Retrieved 2012-11-01.
- Bob Salsberg (2009-06-27). "After 5 years, Mass. city to govern on its own". Associated Press.
- "Springfield board opens search for new police commissioner". Associated Press. 2007-11-29.
- "2 casino firms meet Mass. deadlines". Associated Press. 2013-01-03.