Council President Joan Lovely officially submitted her resignation from Salem City Council, where she has served for 15 years. She will be inaugurated in January as the new state Senator for the district.
The council will hold a special meeting on Jan. 3 to consider candidates for the one year remaining on her term. Any Salem resident who wants to be considered for the appointment must submit a letter of interest to the City Clerk by Dec. 20.
The councilors, many calling Lovely their mentor, took turns praising her personally and professionally.
"You are an incredible leader," said Ward 2 Councilor Michael Sosnowski. "We did not always agree, but you were always a lovely person."
Ward 6 Councilor Paul Prevey called Lovely not only a "hard worker," but also a "classy lady."
Prevey said if there was ever going to be a book on how to be a good city councilor, it would have be written by Lovely.
"I know you will go on to do great things for your district," said Ward 1 Councilor Robert McCarthy.
Councilor at Large Kevin Carr praised Lovely for her "tremendous ability to work with people from all types of backgrounds. You were able to drive compromises."
City Clerk Cheryl Lapointe described Lovely as "the voice of reason."
Lovely in her farewell address promised to continue working on the important issues to Salem. "You know I am going to be involved with the power plant," she said.
She noted that she was giving her farewell address at the same time that retiring Sen. Fred Berry was saying good bye to his fellow senators on Beacon Hill.