, Salem, MA

January 5, 2013

One councilor; two marathon votes


---- — SALEM — It was deja vu for City Councilor Joseph O’Keefe.

Thursday night’s 300-ballot deadlock to elect a new councilor to fill the seat vacated by Joan Lovely, who resigned to become state senator, broke a record set 40 years ago.

The City Council met for more than seven hours this week without securing a majority for either Steve Pinto or Lucy Corchado, two former councilors vying for the seat. The board recessed to Tuesday night.

The previous modern-day Salem record was set in 1973, when the council went to the 87th ballot before electing Jean Levesque to serve as interim mayor, filling the vacancy created when Mayor Samuel Zoll was named a state judge.

The common bond between the two marathon City Council votes is Joseph O’Keefe, who took part in both of them.

In 1973, O’Keefe was a 40-year-old councilor from Ward 2. Today, the 79-year-old O’Keefe — he turns 80 next week — represents Ward 7.

“I think we all have good intentions for good government,” he said. “We just can’t seem to resolve this issue.”

Tom Dalton can be reached at