, Salem, MA


November 8, 2012

Scramble on for Lovely's Salem City Council seat

SALEM — Former City Councilor Lucy Corchado has emerged as a possible candidate to succeed City Council President Joan Lovely, who announced that she will step down in January after her landslide election this week to the Massachusetts Senate.

Corchado, a former Ward 1 councilor and Point neighborhood activist, said yesterday that she would be willing to fill out the remaining year of Lovely’s two-year term as a councilor-at-large.

“I have been approached by some folks,” she said. “... I would be interested, yes.”

The unexpected emergence of Corchado, who served from 2004 to 2007, throws one more name into a mad scramble to fill Lovely’s seat.

So far, most of the talk has focused on former Councilor-at-large Steve Pinto, who was knocked out of office a year ago after serving four years, and restaurant owner Darek Barcikowski, who is active in local and national politics but has never held public office in Salem. He was the runner-up in last year’s councilor-at-large election.

In that race, Lovely topped the ticket and was one of four councilors elected to at-large seats. Barcikowski came in just out of the running in fifth place, with Pinto close behind in sixth.

Both Pinto and Barcikowski said yesterday that they are eyeing the seat.

“Yes, I’m interested, absolutely,” said Pinto, who reportedly has strong support from several current councilors.

Barcikowski, who was Lovely’s campaign manager in the recent state Senate campaign, said, “I have made my intentions known to councilors that if the opportunity were to arise, I would be honored to fill Joan’s seat.”

Behind the scenes, there is a lot of maneuvering and lobbying under way, and also a search for precedents or traditions that might guide the vote.

Should it go to the runner-up in the last election, the precedent used in filling a recent School Committee vacancy? Should it go to a veteran councilor who will not seek re-election? Should it go to the best-qualified person, whether he or she has held office or not?

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