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Councilor Donald Cykowski and former mayoral candidate Donald Emerson seek at-large council seats

Easthampton city councilor Donald L. Cykowski apologized for his remark he made in early December

GORDON DANIELS Easthampton city councilor Donald L. Cykowski apologized for his remark he made in early December

If all the residents who have obtained nomination papers return them with at least 100 signatures by the Sept. 17 deadline, nine candidates would seek the four at-large council seats in the Nov. 5 election.

There are no contests yet for the five district councilor positions, and five people have taken out papers to run for six school committee seats.

The three candidates for mayor are mayoral assistant Karen L. Cadieux, School Committee Chairwoman Nancy L. Sykes and candlemaker David G. Ewing of 5 Treehouse Circle.

After Wednesday’s City Council meeting, Cykowski, 75, of 86 Pomeroy St., said he plans to seek a sixth council term because people have been asking him to run.

“They say I’m the voice of the people,” he said. Cykowski has said that as a councilor he always looks out for taxpayers and speaks up when he sees wasteful spending.

Last year, Cykowski was the subject of a failed recall effort after he was involved in two controversies.

He was criticized after he asked, “Where’s a Puerto Rican when we need one?” when a colleague was accidentally locked out of the council chambers during a meeting in December 2011. Cykowski later said he was sorry if he offended anyone.

In March 2012, the Gazette published allegations by Rebecca Plimpton, a former director of the Emily Williston Memorial Library, that Cykowski had sexually harassed her from 2000 to 2007 when he was a member of the library’s executive committee. Cykowski resigned from the library position March 18, 2012.

When he refused to resign from the council, some residents attempted to initiate a recall election during the summer of 2012. They fell 17 signatures short of the 2,235 needed to trigger a recall election.

Emerson, 66, of 459 East St., is a retired city police captain and former developer. He ran unsuccessfully for mayor against incumbent Michael A. Tautznik in 2011, but he hopes that the 1,758 residents who voted for him then will be among his supporters this year in his bid for at-large city councilor.

“I was in the Police Department for 41 years, and I want to continue with my public service,” he said in a phone interview Wednesday. “I get along well with anyone and I feel I can do a good job as a city councilor.”

Emerson served as a Town Meeting representative in the 1980s and is a member of the city’s Retirement Board.

When asked if he would consider running for mayor again in the future, Emerson said he is “not thinking about it now” but focusing on the current campaign.

Incumbents Joseph P. McCoy and Chester A. Ogulewicz Jr., as well as former mayoral candidate James “J.P.” Kwiecinski, all have submitted enough signatures to guarantee that they will be on the ballot for the four at-large council seats. In addition to Cykowski and Emerson, others who have not turned in their signatures yet are incumbent Nathaniel P. Ziegler and newcomers Troy A. Gray, Mary T. Cusack and Tamara L. Smith.

Four incumbents are seeking re-election to their district council seats. District 1 Councilor Daniel C. Hagan and District 5 Councilor Daniel D. Rist have turned in signatures, and District 3 Councilor Joy E. Winnie and District 4 Councilor Salem Derby are still collecting signatures.

District 2 Councilor Justin P. Cobb has said he will not run for re-election and Jennifer A. Hayes of 116 Pleasant St. hopes to succeed him.

Incumbent Lori Ingraham is the only candidate for School Committee to return her nomination papers with at least the 100 required signatures.

Incumbents Peter Gunn, Laura Scott, and Debora Lusnia and newcomer Wendy Bloomenthal of 11 Karen Circle have yet to return their signatures.

Rebecca Everett can be reached at reverett@gazettenet.com.

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