SALEM — Megan Riccardi was announced as City Councilor to Ward 6 Thursday night, triggering a thundering round of applause and cheers, a few scattered ringing cowbells and a burst of energy for Salem politics in 2020.
The City Council was inaugurated at a delayed ceremony Thursday night, four days after it was first scheduled under charter mandate. It was delayed because of a trial into the one-vote election win Riccardi had over her opponent, City Council veteran Jerry Ryan. The matter was settled in Lawrence Superior Court early Wednesday afternoon.
The inauguration also saw the swearing-in of newcomers Patti Morsillo, Ty Hapworth and Conrad Prosniewski. The School Committee and newcomer Kristin Pangallo were sworn in Monday, ahead of a meeting for that body.
The ceremony also saw the nomination, and election, of Ward 1 City Councilor Bob McCarthy as president for 2020. The vote was 10 in favor and 1 present (McCarthy), but it was declared unanimous moments later on the motion of Steve Dibble, councilor to Ward 7 and president in 2019.
Matters were put briefly on hold by Ilene Simons, the city’s embattled clerk, who provided remarks on the trial that upended the department and city politics going back to Nov. 5. Her remarks were followed by a voluminous standing ovation.
“This trial lasted nine days, spread over the last four weeks, overlapping with the holidays,” Simons said, “and the court ruled in our favor on each and every count.”
City Mayor Kim Driscoll offered an abbreviated State of the City address, through which she outlined priorities for the city in 2020 and larger visions for the city leading up to its 400th anniversary in 2026.
“The Salem voters chose each and every one of us taking an oath of office to work on their behalf,” Driscoll said. “Our opponent is the challenges the city faces, not each other. Thank you for being willing to step up, get engaged and help our city thrive.”
Still, the weeks-long trial into the Ward 6 election was in the air Thursday night despite being dismissed just a day earlier.
In an announcement provided Thursday afternoon, Ryan said he had no plans to try appealing the case’s outcome, but he added that he still plans to seek guidance from the state’s Appeals Court about “whether the city’s policy of requiring identification from certain ‘flagged’ individuals meets election law standards,” the announcement read.
“This appeal does not affect Megan Riccardi,” Ryan said, “whom I congratulate and wish good luck as the next councilor of Ward 6.”
COMMITTEE ASSIGNMENTS FOR 2020
Ordinances, Licenses, Legal Affairs: Christine Madore as chairperson, Steve Dibble, Patti Morsillo, Conrad Prosniewski, Arthur Sargent.
Administration and Finance: Josh Turiel as chairperson, Domingo Dominguez, Tim Flynn, Ty Hapworth, Megan Riccardi.
Community, Economic Development: Dominguez as chairperson, Hapworth, Madore, Morsillo, Riccardi.
Government Services: Flynn as chairperson, Dominguez, Prosniewski, Sargent, Turiel.
Public Health, Safety, Environment: Dibble as chairperson, Hapworth, Morsillo, Prosniewski, Riccardi.