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.
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.