SALEM — Roughly one hour into Thursday night’s City Council meeting, the board took a vote to fill its councilor-at-large vacancy. The ballot was a draw, with five councilors backing Steve Pinto and five councilors backing Lucy Corchado.
Except for one short-lived attempt at compromise, the board continued to take that tie vote, over and over, for the next seven hours.
The board recessed at 2:25 a.m. without making a decision, despite taking 300 votes. The council will resume the meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, 93 Washington St.
Ultimately, the council’s pick will fill a one-year vacancy created by Joan 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.
Six residents had submitted letters of interest to fill Lovely’s vacancy.
In addition to former councilors 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.
This week’s meeting came to order at 7 p.m. Thursday and recessed at 2:25 a.m. Friday.
After the first vote was taken, the meeting quickly became a stalemate. It was clear that none of the councilors backing Pinto would be changing their votes, and none of the councilors backing Corchado would be voting for Pinto.
The little discussion councilors had between votes was on procedure, not on the candidates.
The board took the same 5-5 vote over and over for hours, 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.