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January 4, 2013

UPDATED: Council deadlocks in vote to fill seat

SALEM — Last night's City Council meeting turned into a showdown, with the board taking the same tie vote nearly 300 times.

The stalemate was over a councilor-at-large vacancy created by the resignation former council president  of Joan Lovely. Half the board backed one candidate, Steve Pinto, while the other half backed Lucy Corchado.

No compromise was reached over the course of the seven-hour meeting, which came to order at 7 p.m. Thursday and recessed at 2:25 a.m. Friday.

The council will resume the meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 8, at City Hall, 93 Washington St.

The board took the same 5-5 tie vote over and over for hours last night, with Councilors Robert McCarthy, Joseph O’Keefe, Josh Turiel, Kevin Carr and Tom Furey voting for Corchado; and Jerry Ryan, Arthur Sargent, Paul Prevey, Michael Sosnowski and Todd Siegel voting for Pinto.

Ultimately, the council's pick will fill a one-year vacancy created by Lovely, who stepped down from the council and was sworn into the state Senate on Wednesday. She had served one year of a councilor-at-large term that goes through December 2013.

Pinto served four years as a councilor-at-large before losing his bid for re-election in 2011. Corchado is an activist in the city’s Point neighborhood and Ward 1 councilor from 2004 to 2007.

Six residents had submitted letters of interest to fill Lovely’s vacancy.

In addition to Pinto and Corchado, the candidate pool included William Legault, a freelance writer and personal trainer who is well-known around town; Chris Sicuranza, director of communications for the New England Police Benevolent Association; Robert Wright, a college teacher with a lengthy background in state government; and Ken Sawicki, who has run unsuccessfully for multiple offices.

The battle for Lovely’s seat took a turn last month when Darek Barcikowski, the at-large runner-up in 2011, who finished ahead of Pinto, decided not to submit his name. After speaking with city councilors, Barcikowski said it became clear he wouldn’t get a majority vote.

For full coverage, see Saturday's Salem News.

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