SALEM — City Councilors will have a diverse pool of candidates to pick from as they vote to fill Joan Lovely’s seat on the board next month.
Residents Christopher Sicuranza, Steven Pinto, Kenneth Sawicki, Robert Wright, Lucy Corchado and William Legault submitted letters of interest this month to fill the upcoming council vacancy.
Lovely, the current council president, was elected to the state Senate Nov. 6. She’ll resign from the council Jan. 1 to take over from retiring Sen. Fred Berry. She has served one year of a councilor-at-large term that goes through December 2013.
The City Council has called a meeting for Jan. 3, 7 p.m. at City Hall, 93 Washington St., to fill the vacancy.
Salem’s city charter dictates that a City Council vacancy should be filled by majority vote of the council. If the remaining 10 councilors are all eligible to vote, the winner would need at least six votes.
There is one name noticeably absent from the list of those interested in filling Lovely’s term: restaurateur and businessman Darek Barcikowski, who initially expressed interest in the seat. Barcikowski was top runner-up in the 2011 councilor-at-large race.
After speaking with city councilors, Barcikowski said it became clear he wouldn’t get a majority vote.
“Over the last few weeks, I have met and reached out to the councilors ... I just don’t have the support of six councilors,” he said. “... The decision, ultimately, has become very political.”
Barcikowski said he “respects everyone’s decision,” and is grateful to the councilors who did offer their support.
“There’s a lot of different factors that play into this, and I think the best thing might be to pick someone neutral,” he said. “Ultimately, bring it back to the voters (at the next election) for who they think should replace Joan (Lovely) in the subsequent term.”
Of the six candidates, two have served on the council previously: Corchado, an activist in the city’s Point neighborhood, served as Ward 1 councilor from 2004 to 2007 and Pinto served four years as councilor-at-large.
Pinto said yesterday he’s reached out to some of his former colleagues on the council and “asked for their consideration.”
He said he’s been attending meetings and keeping tabs on city issues since losing his bid for re-election in November 2011.
“I sat there (on the council) four out of the last five years,” Pinto said. “I enjoy being a city councilor. I was born and raised in Salem. I miss it. I worked hard at it, I was very serious about it and enjoyed it.”
Pinto was laid off from his job as a truck driver for an oil company in 2011 and currently works as a metal fabricator for Ipswich Bay Glass.
Corchado, who works in the student life office at Salem State University, said her interest is more in filling the remaining year of Lovely’s term, and not necessarily running for re-election.
“If I could be of service for the year, I would certainly do that,” Corchado said.
She said the timing is better, this time around, for her to serve on the City Council because her three sons are older. Also, it would be nice to have a woman on the council, she said — Lovely is the board’s only female member, currently.
Sicuranza said he threw his hat into the ring to bring a new voice — “a youthful voice” — and new perspective to the council. He was the first person to submit a letter of interest in the council vacancy this month.
The 28-year-old is director of communications for the New England Police Benevolent Association and active with Go Out Loud, a Salem-based lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) social, business and networking initiative.
“This is very much a city on the rise,” he said. “If you want to talk about a demographic that’s not being represented ... I would like to be the voice of the people for a new generation, I mean that sincerely.”
Sicuranza came to Salem in 2002 to attend Salem State University. He brings a background in communications, social media and outreach.
“I see this as a real call to action to modernize the city council,” and improve its communication, he said. “... I’m not here to serve myself, but to serve the city.”
Sawicki’s name has been on Salem ballots numerous times; he has previously run for School Committee, City Council and mayor. He also submitted a letter of interest to fill Kevin Carr’s seat on the School Committee last winter, as Carr was elected to the City Council.
Sawicki, Legault and Wright could not be reached for comment yesterday.
Bethany Bray can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @SalemNewsBB.