Council Compromises on Legault to Replace Lovely

Pinto and Corchado withdraw after 301st ballot fails to pick a winner.

The 10-members of the City Council, who failed last Thursday to pick a successor to former Councilor at Large Joan Lovely, took only two ballots Tuesday night to elect William Legault as the 11th councilor.

Legault, who writes our weekly A Voice in Salem column and is a lifelong resident of Salem, was sworn into office to fill the remaining year of Lovely's term. She resigned to take a seat in the state Senate.

After being sworn in, Legault said his late father "would be going nuts right now. He would be out of his mind."

He pledged to bring a new voice to the council and pledged his colleagues to offer common sense and sincerity. Prior to being elected to the council, Legault has served on several city commissions and task forces, including the Citizens Advisory Council. 

The council voted eight to two for Legault on the 302nd ballot. The first 300 ballots, cast last Thursday during a marathon seven-hour special meeting, were mostly deadlocked at five votes for former Councilor at Large Steven Pinto and five votes for former Ward 1 Councilor Lucy Corchado.

On the 301st ballot, the first ballot cast Tuesday, Pinto's five supporters voted for him. Three of Corchado's supporters voted for her. Two voted for Legault.

The winner needed six votes for a majority.

After the 301st failed to elect either Pinto or Corchado, both candidates announced they would withdraw.

Before the first vote, Pinto announced that he would not seek reelection to the position of councilor at large in the fall, if appointed to the interim position. He hoped that would sway at least one of the Corchado voters to support him.

Councilor at Large Kevin Carr had made the issue of incumbency a paramount criteria. He did not want to support someone who would use the year of sitting on the council to run for election as councilor at large.

Carr said Tuesday that there were other issues that caused him not to support Pinto. He said the fact that Pinto came in sixth in the race for councilor at large in 2011 was reason not to back Pinto.

"The voters spoke in the last election," Carr said.

He rejected the idea that he was part of a faction on the council. "My conscience is clear," he said.

Councilor at Large Arthur Sargent, a friend of Pinto since high school, disagreed with Carr's reasoning. He said he felt the Pinto was the best qualified candidate for the appointment because of recent experience on the council, his commitment to city issues and because he came in a close sixth in the 2011 election.

Corchado pledged last Thursday to withdraw if Pinto did. After Pinto withdrew and left the chamber with his wife, she said she would keep her word.

Earlier she urged the council to appoint her to give Hispanics and women representation on the council. The 11-member council is all white and all male.

President Jerry Ryan, who was elected on Monday, thanked each of the candidates and apologized to each for putting them through the marathon session on Thursday.

"I am sorry," Ryan said. "I don't want to ever go through that again."

He urged the council to revise the process in the future for filling a vacancy.

"Since last Thursday a lot has happened," Ryan said. "There have been a lot of phone calls. This process needs to be looked at. We need to fix it."

Ward 2 Councilor Michael Sosnowski was the first among the councilors to speak. He said he had been told by other councilors that they would not vote for Pinto because Pinto would vote to make Sosnowski the council president.

"What is the other side of the story? What is the truth?" he asked, pledging to reveal the truth of what happened behind the scenes.

He said the truth is that Pinto and those who supported him, who have been labeled "obstructionists," voted with Mayor Kimberley Driscoll 90 percent of the votes.   

john January 09, 2013 at 01:37 AM
So, we will see if Legault is in the mayors corner.
gene January 09, 2013 at 01:58 AM
Legault has been the recipient of city jobs and has been an apologist for the Mayor. He'll be a Driscoll rubber stamp!
Cwheels January 09, 2013 at 02:04 AM
Congratulations Councilor Legault
Jim Plummer January 09, 2013 at 02:13 AM
another decision by Kim and all her little coolies Bob you are a very disappointing to us all!!
Jim Plummer January 09, 2013 at 02:35 AM
Next it will be windmill city in the Willows-Kowtow to the queen!! I see more Federal money coming in!,more traffic lights, poor Street lights, less cops, less fire fighters, higher taxes for home owners with taxation without representation. It's money that our children will have to pay back for the rest of their lives!! SHAME! SHAME! SHAME!
Jim Plummer January 09, 2013 at 02:38 AM
Councilor Legault Congratulations and please do what is right for this GREAT City!
Matt Buchanan January 09, 2013 at 02:39 AM
Congratulations Councilor Legault I am proud to have you as a representative. -Matt Buchanan
Mike Blatty January 09, 2013 at 02:54 AM
In view of the apparently unbreakable deadlock, this decision by the council is an excellent one. Mr. Legault has indeed often sided with the mayor but that is because he honestly agreed with her, not because of any jobs he has held as a city employee. There is no one I trust more to do the right thing as he sees it. On the other hand, I will miss his Super Bowl parties!
Diane Wolf January 09, 2013 at 03:02 AM
And so it begins...
Bill January 09, 2013 at 10:10 AM
Congrats Bill, at least we'll know there will be at least one member who cares about the homeless/crime issue and as a bonus can actually read and write.
drew from salem January 09, 2013 at 01:12 PM
I trust Bill to actually think through all the issues on a matter and do what is best for Salem. This might mean he votes in ways I disagree with, but at least I will know that he is doing so out of his genuine belief that it is the best course of action. Congrats Councilor Santa! And what's all this with Sosnowski and conspiracy theories? Somebody needs to delete the X-Files from his Netflix queue.
chester suchecki January 09, 2013 at 02:42 PM
the next step is to get tom furey out of the stone age and get him to buy a computer.
Jack Carver January 09, 2013 at 02:52 PM
Hold on, Give Bill a chance. I have no doubts that he will do a great job.
ABC January 09, 2013 at 03:03 PM
SHAME on you!
Jared Robinson January 09, 2013 at 03:49 PM
now... why couldn't this have happened on the FIRST night... after say... 50 votes?
Jim Armstrong January 09, 2013 at 03:56 PM
Congratulations, Bill. I know you will do a fine job of representing the residents of Salem and make the decisions that are good for the community as a whole.
Jared Robinson January 09, 2013 at 04:06 PM
I'd like to know more about what he meant by his statements...
Stephen Costa January 09, 2013 at 06:00 PM
Perfect words, exactly Jim... Congrats Bill and thank you for serving!!!
Mike Blatty January 09, 2013 at 06:51 PM
Anything to keep that little ticket book out of his hands! He was WAY too quick at it! (We love you, Bill.)
scratch that itch January 09, 2013 at 08:13 PM
Of course he is, never bite the hand that feeds you. He's been a driscoll flunky for as long as the Lobster Shanty has been playing by it's own set of rules (he was a bartender there), thanks to their cozy relationship with the administration.
john January 09, 2013 at 08:33 PM
There is a reason the mayor did not fight this.
john January 09, 2013 at 08:41 PM
Carr is a joke. He doesn't want someone that came in sixth in the last election but is happy with someone who has never received a vote from anyone? What if he runs,as I believe he said he is, and comes in last? You have done a great injustice to the taxpayers and your concern over running in the furure was obvious nonsense.
KlassySalem January 10, 2013 at 10:05 PM
A few of the councilors tried for this after the first 50.
SalemResident January 12, 2013 at 10:56 PM
Shame on you!!! How quickly you forget what Bob has done as a counselor and community member.


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