Lovely said last night that she plans to step down from the Salem City Council when she takes her Senate seat in January.
She was re-elected to the City Council last fall; her term lasts through December 2013.
“I want to be able to devote 100 percent of my time (to the Senate),” Lovely said. “I think it’s the right thing to do.”
Salem’s city charter dictates that a City Council vacancy be filled by majority vote of the council. In the past, the board has accepted letters of interest and appointed someone from the pool of candidates.
Last November, the council and School Committee voted jointly to fill a school board vacancy created when School Committee member Kevin Carr was elected to the City Council. The joint boards chose Lisa Lavoie, the top runner-up in the School Committee election that fall.
The top runner-up in the 2011 councilor-at-large election was Darek Barcikowski, owner of Cafe Polonia in downtown Salem. Steve Pinto, then an incumbent councilor, came in behind Barcikowski in a competitive councilor-at-large race.
A similar situation arose in the spring of 2006, when Councilor Michael Bencal resigned in the wake of an ethics violation. Eleven residents expressed interest in filling Bencal’s seat.
A majority of councilors voted to pick not the runner-up in the previous election, James Willis, but Mark Blair, who had served on the council from 1988 to 1999.