“It is what it is, and it’s too bad it’s come to this point,” Pinto said. “... I think it’s a council divided, and for good reason — people don’t want to be dictated to.”
Corchado said she would agree to withdraw her candidacy only if Pinto would, also.
“I would be all for starting over, fresh,” Corchado said yesterday. “If Pinto would agree to bow out, I would also, and give others an opportunity to run. That’s the least we can do at this point ... I’m embarrassed for the city and for the council that this is being played out the way it is.”
O’Keefe said he’s also concerned about possible stalemate at Monday night’s re-organizational meeting. Salem’s City Charter requires the council to meet on the first Monday of January to elect a new president and assign councilors to subcommittees.
With an even-numbered board, a tie vote could occur as the council votes to elect a president.
O’Keefe said he’s heard of two councilors interested in the presidency: Mike Sosnowski and Robert McCarthy. Sosnowksi voted for Pinto Thursday, while McCarthy voted for Corchado.
“The hurdle we have to get over is (electing) the new president,” O’Keefe said. “Again, I think there will be sharp division ... The biggest hurdle, in my mind, is council president.”
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.