|By G. Michael Dobbs|
SPRINGFIELD – Mayor Domenic Sarno introduced the committee whose charge will be to find an appropriate way for the city to honor former Mayor Theodore Dimauro at a press conference on Nov. 25.
Dimauro died earlier this year and was mayor of the city from 1978 to 1984.
Sarno noted many of Dimauro’s accomplishments as mayor. He was the city’s first mayor to contend with Proposition 2 1/2 but left between $6 million and $8 million in reserves by the time he left office. He negotiated the city’s first cable television contract and saw the need for a new high school. He made possible the first Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-off Classic.
On a personal note, Sarno said Dimauro handed him his high school diploma when he graduated from the High School of Commerce.
“He is and will always be remembered as the first Italian American mayor in the history of Springfield,” Sarno added.
Sarno said he keeps a letter Dimauro wrote to him when he was elected in his desk. It offered advice that Sarno has found valuable.
The mayor said that City Councilor Kateri Walsh, Frank Foraistere, Dan Walsh, Peter Carando, Brian Santanielo, Bishop Bryant Robinson, Pedge Lynch, Raymond Jordan, Attorney John Liebel, Attorney William Foley, Anthony Cignoli, Frank Gulluni Sr. and Patricia Correira have accepted his invitation to serve on the committee.
Sarno said the idea to create a memorial was inspired by a letter to him from Dimauro’s family and keeps it in his desk.
Walsh had drafted a resolution shortly after Dimauro’s death for the committee to be created and noted it was passed unanimously.
“We will find a wonderful tribute in his memory,” Walsh said.
Members of the committee offered their own experiences with the late mayor and attorney.
Foraistere said, “The six years I worked with Teddy were wonderful years for me.”
Gulluni noted Dimauro’s foresight by purchasing buildings in the North End of the city for later redevelopment, while Foley recalled the mentorship Dimauro supplied younger public servants.
“He gave us the opportunity to stand on our own,” he said.
Liebel, who was Dimauro’s law partner for 25 years, called him “a great government official and a great family man.”
Dimauro’s two brothers Vincent and Fred also attended the press conference.
“I think he‘d be very appreciative that all of this work is being recognized,” Fred Dimauro said.
He added he was surprised by some of what he heard as he was aware of the extent of his brother’s accomplishments.
Vincent Dimauro explained, “He didn’t bring his work home.”
Fred Dimauro expressed hope that Central High School would be renamed to honor his brother.
Walsh said the committee would begin its meetings in January.
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