At their meeting Thursday night, several city councilors got sentimental as they started saying goodbye to council President Joan Lovely, who is expected to resign in the next few weeks to take a seat in the state Senate, which she was elected to last week.
Ward 7 Councilor Joseph O'Keefe started the tribute off, calling Lovely an outstanding councilor.
Councilor at Large Thomas Furey following saying, "Salem is the winner," but he would miss her on the city council.
Ward 1 Councilor Robert McCarthy, who is being touted as the next council president, called Lovely "my friend, my colleague and my mentor."
Lovely shut down the emotional goodbyes, returning the councilors to the agenda.
Replacing Lovely may not be as easy as saying goodbye.
Three candidates have emerged as replacements. Once Lovely officially resigns, the council will begin deliberating on who it will select to complete her term.
The three are former councilor at large Steven Pinto, who was defeated for reelection last year; restaurant owner Darek Barcikowski, who was the runner up in the councilor at large contest last year, and the latest contendor, former City Councilor Lucy Corchado.
In conversations with several councilors, Pinto appears to have five solid votes. He would need six to return to the council.
Several councilors said they support Barcikowski.
But Corchado's interest seem to intrigue some councilors, who noted that she would keep the council from being all male.
Corchado, a former Ward 1 councilor and a Pointe neighborhood activist, "would shake things up," Ward 7 Councilor Joseph O'Keefe said.