There was a historic inauguration Monday in the largest city in western Massachusetts.
Inside majestic Symphony Hall on the main stage with a giant American flag as a backdrop, Domenic Sarno with his wife and two daughters standing at his side was sworn in for a fifth term as mayor of Springfield and became the longest serving chief executive in the city’s 384-year history.
Sarno said when he was first elected mayor in 2007 (an upset victory over then-Mayor Charlie Ryan), he never dreamed he would go on to set a record for longevity in the office.
"My love for this city and my love for this job burns brighter than ever before," said Sarno.
In his inaugural address, Sarno reflected on the last 12 years and said “several success stories” stood out. He cited stabilizing the city’s finances during the Great Recession, improvements in the city’s public schools, better public safety, and economic development projects that he claimed have resulted in 5,000 jobs.
"I look forward with great enthusiasm to the next four years," said Sarno. " I have every confidence that continuing to work together we will secure and bright and vibrant future for our community."
Sarno dedicated his fifth inauguration to the memory of his mother Clara Sarno, who died in 2018, and his 84-year-old father Alfonso Sarno, who is battling cancer and was too ill to attend Monday’s ceremony.
" My parents always said they were proud of me," said Sarno with his voice cracking. " I am so so very proud of them and am profoundly grateful for the boundless love and support."
Sarno has never shown so much as a hint of an interest in any other office and told reporters that he expects to seek reelection in 2023.
"You never say never, but if this is the last elective office I ever hold, I will be happy," said Sarno. "I live this job, I love this job 24-7."
Also during the ceremony, oaths of office were administered to newly elected City Councilors Malo Brown, Sean Curran, and Victor Davila.
Later at City Hall, the City Council voted unanimously to elected Councilor Adam Gomez as vice president and to re-elect Councilor Justin Hurst for a second one-year term as council president.
In his speech, Hurst singled out several City Councilors for their work last year on specific issues including the approvals for the first marijuana stores in Springfield, creation of a senior tax work off program, and toughening local hiring requirements for contractors on public construction projects.
Hurst said he has high expectations for the City Council in the year ahead.
"The issues facing the city of Springfield are not that complicated so long as you have a dedicated City Council that is willing to put in the work to address those issues, which is exactly what we had last year and I expect nothing different this year," said Hurst.
Also on Monday, John Vieau was sworn in as the 41st mayor of Chicopee.
Don Humason took the oath of office to become the new mayor of Westfield.