By Bethany Bray
---- — SALEM — People interested in filling the remaining year of Joan Lovely’s term on the City Council have until Dec. 20 to submit a letter of interest.
Lovely, the current council president, was elected to the state Senate Nov. 6. She has submitted a letter of resignation for her council seat and will begin her Senate term Jan. 1.
The City Council is expected to vote to select a new councilor from the pool of interested applicants at its first meeting of the year, Jan. 3.
Lovely has served one year of a councilor-at-large term that goes through December 2013.
Several Salemites have said they are considering throwing their hat in the ring for Lovely’s seat, including former councilors Steve Pinto and Lucy Corchado and businessman Darek Barcikowski.
As of yesterday afternoon, City Clerk Cheryl LaPointe said she had yet to receive any letters of interest.
A notice advertising the open council seat will begin running today, she said. Interested residents must be registered voters. Letters of interest will be accepted at the city clerk’s office at City Hall, 93 Washington St., until 7 p.m. on Dec. 20.
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.
Both Corchado and Barcikowski have told The Salem News that they would be interested in filling Lovely’s seat in recent interviews. They did not return calls seeking comment for this article.
Pinto, a former councilor-at-large, said he will soon submit a letter of interest. He said he’s been attending meetings and keeping tabs on city issues since losing his bid for re-election in November 2011.
Many of the same issues — such as the downtown parking plan — are still before the council, he said.
“I feel I could hit the ground running, so to speak,” Pinto said. “There’s a lot to work on. ... I love the job, (I) miss it.”
The top runner-up in the 2011 councilor-at-large election was Barcikowski, owner of Cafe Polonia in downtown Salem, followed by then-incumbent Pinto.
Corchado, an activist in the city’s Point neighborhood, served as Ward 1 councilor from 2004 to 2007.
Lovely will take over for retiring Sen. Fred Berry, a Peabody Democrat who has represented the district for 30 years.
Bethany Bray can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter @SalemNewsBB.