, Salem, MA

Election Forum

October 2, 2012

Letter: Councilors should vote their conscience

To the editor:

I am writing in response to Nelson Benton’s column of Sept. 21. In analyzing a potential vacancy on the Salem City Council, Mr. Benton writes that councilors supporting Steve Pinto for the vacancy would have to explain why they are breaking with a supposed tradition calling for the vacancy to be filled with the next runner-up in the previous election. This statement by him ignores previous selections for vacancies.

In 2006, there was a vacancy following Michael Bencal’s resignation from the council. As runner-up in the election, I put my name forward for consideration on the basis of my qualifications for office, along with several others who did not run. Only one councilor, Thomas Furey, cited said tradition and cast a vote for me. The others voted for the councilor they felt was most qualified. I had no problem with this process, as it was my belief that, should the city have wanted the runner-up to be automatically chosen, the charter could have reflected this.

Should there be a vacancy now, councilors should be free to vote their conscience and vote for the individual they feel would be best for the job. Both Mr. Pinto and Mr. Barcikowski put their names on the ballot and ran credible campaigns for the City Council. Both are well-qualified and would bring different sets of skills and experiences to the council. Councilors should consider the merits of their candidacies, not a made-up “tradition” if they have to make a choice.

James R. Willis Jr.


Text Only | Photo Reprints
Election Forum

Local News
  • Ipswich selectmen act to stop clam raiders IPSWICH -- The Southwest is not the only border under siege. Ipswich is taking emergency action to deal with clammers coming across the Essex and Gloucester border on Sundays to harvest on the richest clamming beach in Ipswich. It's not as serious, o

    July 22, 2014

  • fessendens Volunteers planning playroom makeover for Beverly's Riley Fessenden

    For Riley Fessenden, a fun day at home might include playing games, building with Legos and watching a movie with her family. This week, a whole lot of people are going make sure she has a great place to do all of those things. About 70 volunteers ar

    July 23, 2014 2 Photos 4 Stories

  • New Brimbal Avenue design to be presented Thursday

    BEVERLY -- Residents will get their first chance to weigh in on the new design proposal for the Brimbal Avenue/Route 128 interchange on Thursday. City and state officials, along with designer Jacobs Engineering, will host a community meeting Thursday

    July 22, 2014 6 Stories

  • Gettysburg Ipswich students honor Gettysburg Address's 150th anniversary

    IPSWICH -- A group of 30 kids gathered at the Ipswich Public Library Tuesday evening to recite the Gettysburg Address to their friends and family from the balcony. The students, who are in grades 3 through 8, have been studying the document as part

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Marblehead diver rescue 2 Body of diver recovered off Marblehead

    State Police divers found the body of a 59-year-old man in the waters off Marblehead at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, according to state police.

    July 22, 2014 2 Photos 1 Story