At-Large

At-Large: Arthur Sargent

Education: Salem High School 1974, Salem State University 1981.
Professional: Presently employed by The Massachusetts Water Resource Authority, as an Instrumentation Technician, since 2015. Formerly employed for 33 years at The Salem Harbor Station Power Plant, as a Computer Control Technician until it was closed in 2014.
Public Service: Councillor at Large 2000 to present.
Community Service: Salem K-9 Police Dog fundraising volunteer
Personal: Homeowner at 8 Maple Avenue, Married to Kathleen (DeFranco) Sargent. We have three adult children, Patrick and his wife Sarah Sargent, Amy and her husband Eric Sclafani, and Eric Sargent.

Why are you running for Councillor and what particular skills can you bring to the position?

I'm running to help give the people of Salem the best possible quality of life. Every decision a Councillor makes should have this as the end result. I like to research the history of issues that come before the City Council and City Boards. If you understand past zoning changes, planning board decisions, board of appeal agreements and City Council Votes, you can make a more informed decision as we plan Salem's future. I will also continue to listen to the people of Salem, hear their input, learn from their experiences and incorporate this information to the best of my ability, into the planning process of our city.

What are some of your proposed solutions to resolving the housing crisis in Salem?

We currently have 12.4 percent affordable housing in Salem. That makes us the 15th best city, out of 351 cities and towns in Massachusetts, at providing affordable housing for our residents.  New housing development should have between ten and twenty percent affordable housing so we remain at or improve upon our impressive 15th place ranking.                        


How do you see Salem impacted by the climate crisis and what new initiatives would you take to lead Salem's resiliency efforts?

Salem's biggest concern is the impact of storms on our waterfront neighborhoods and the sea walls that protect them. A scheduled inspection and preventive maintenance program must be used to be sure our sea walls are ready for future weather events.

Please outline some ideas you have that can enhance civic engagement at the city level.

Civic engagement begins with involving the people of Salem in the planning and decision making process of our city as early as possible. This includes public and private development projects. Let them know about a meeting, listen to their input, combine it with the expertise of the professional planners and architects and move forward with a better project.

At-Large: Melissa Faulkner

I am humbled and blessed to be considered as your next Councilor-at-Large in a city with such history and diversity. I was born and raised in Salem and am blessed to be raising my five sons here. I am a renter and currently struggle to pay my bills. I am a survivor of domestic violence, have fought and won sole custody of my children, two of which have epilepsy. I also have a background as a paraprofessional and have been employed as a professional Driving School Instructor for the past four years, currently with Tanner City Driving School. I not only teach our youth, I also teach bilingual individuals and students with disabilities. I firmly believe that everyone should be afforded the right to reach their fullest potential. Nothing has been handed to me. I have knocked down every door and I will fight for the people of Salem with every fiber of my being. I seek to serve with empathy and compassion and lead with wisdom and discernment in all areas. I will work diligently and collaboratively with my community and fellow servants to see that everyone has a voice and that while we maintain and uphold Salem’s history we move forward to build a stronger Salem.

Why are you running for Councilor and what particular skills can you bring to the position?

I am running for Councilor, because I am passionate and motivated about using everything my family and I have been through for the greater good.  I want to stand and advocate for the amazing people of Salem who face similar struggles and challenges. I want to show others that regardless of what you have been or are currently going through, you can still be a voice of change. I can deliver the experience I have gained through enduring real-life challenges such as facing homelessness, domestic violence, and having children with special needs. I’ve learned to successfully navigate these challenges in the darkest of times and now I want to utilize my ability and perseverance to push forward and help others. 

A short list of reasons I believe myself a worthy candidate:

  • Want to bring forth my life experience. Really care about salem and its constituents (born and raised)

  • Representation for the common person.

  • My voice on the council can bring empathy and compassion while maintaining the wisdom and discernment necessary to lead.

  • Can be the bridge between the grievances of the constituents of Salem with my fellow councillors who can help me bring about the necessary change.

Why: 

  • I feel passionate that, through my life experience, I can be a voice for any that may be facing similar hardship

  • Directly affected by the affordable and accessible housing crisis (experience) 

  • Facing homelessness, being a survivor of domestic violence, 

  • Having to fight/learn how to stand up and speak up and be an advocate for boys and self 

  • Really believe that I have the empathy and compassion to connect with people going through similar situations 

What are some of your proposed solutions towards resolving the housing crisis in Salem?

While we have not created this housing crisis within itself, we are now faced with finding solutions in order to move forward. I believe we really need to take a comprehensive look at the current and outdated Zoning laws and make significant changes.  We as a society are responsible for making sure that the diverse needs of Salem’s residents are being met at every level and income, to the person serving your morning coffee to the store clerk to public service workers such as EMT’s, firefighters, the police, students whom of which some are sleeping in their cars to our school teachers. 

  • I want to look in depth at the two current options- Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance and Community Benefits Agreement and further examine what options have the most potential to benefit the individuals of Salem.  I would also like to see a rent-freeze and/or rent control ordinance. 

  • I am in support of amending the ordinance relative to accessory living uses which would benefit both individuals, which would provide below market rent but also supplement the owners income. My family in particular would personally benefit from this ordinance being passed. Along with this, I want to collaborate with landlords to ensure that they have access to lead-abatement programs and create a subcommittee to bridge the gap between landlords and tenants in Salem. I plan to collaborate and empower individuals that are currently receiving housing vouchers to find a better solution and pathway for a sustainable life. 

  • I am also in support of building accessible and affordable housing using the approved buildings permitted with the passage of the municipal and religious reuse program.

CBA: http://www.forworkingfamilies.org/page/community-benefits-101

Inclusionary Zoning: https://www.citylab.com/equity/2018/07/citylab-university-inclusionary-zoning/565181/ 

How do you see Salem impacted by the climate crisis and what new initiatives would you take to lead Salem's resiliency efforts?

With Salem being a coastal City Flooding is a huge concern. We need to conduct studies on our land in order to know how to adequately prepare for flooding while we also take necessary steps to protect and preserve our environment. We must speak loud and clear on this issue and demand reforms from our leaders. I would look at every possible energy alternative initiatives in order to see how Salem could benefit from them. Renewable energy is much more accessible nowadays. Solar panels and wind turbines create this energy without negatively impacting the environment. There is no reason why this shouldn’t be part of the foot print for every new building. Recycling must be increased to a weekly schedule vs. biweekly. I would like to create and collaborate with community groups to keep beaches clean and work on viable solutions to keep our water clean.

Please outline some ideas you have that can enhance civic engagement at the city level.

Provide an easy to use platform for innovation and engagement

  • Empower citizens

  • Develop a comprehensive communication strategy

  • Provide incentives

  • Provide sufficient staffing, resources, and success metrics

  • Partner with local businesses, schools, and community resource agencies

It’s important to note that many constituents want to attend meetings but can’t due to a lack of childcare. I would like to collaborate with youth groups such as the YMCA in offering babysitting for a donation during city council meetings so parents can attend.


At-Large: Conrad Prosniewski

Born, raised and educated in Salem, and after serving my community for nearly forty one years, I wish to continue my commitment to the people of Salem.

As a voice and leader with the Salem Police for many years I have not only been been exposed to the many issues and difficulties our city has faced, but also helped organize and strategize many successful initiatives and plans of actions.  I have been and continue to be totally committed to improving the quality of life for everyone in Salem.

Born in 1954 I am first generation American whose parents immigrated after WW II. Both worked in factories raising myself and my sister Barbara, who is a doctor residing in California.  Their dream came true, as should the dreams of others.  Without their efforts I would not have my wife Julie, my two children Michael & Kristina and my grandson Tommy who are my life.

BACKGROUND:

  • St. John the Baptist Elementary School

  • Salem High School Class of 1972

  • Essex Technical Institute A.S. Environmental Science

  • North Shore Community College, A.S. Criminal Justice

  • New England Flyers, Private Pilot

  • Eagle Scout

  • Police Patrol Officer 1978 – 1991

  • Sergeant/Detective 1991 – 2004

  • Lieutenant/Police Prosecutor 2004 – 2016

  • Captain 2016 – 2018

  • Executive Officer 2018 – 2019

  • Dive Master/Dive Team Commander 1993 – 2018

  • Public Information Officer 1991 - 2019

  •  City of Salem, Mayor’s Citizen Advisory Committee 1999- Present

  • City of Salem, Waterfront Advisory Committee 2004 – 2008

  • City of Salem, No Place for Hate Committee 1995 - 2019

  • Board of Directors/ Salem Children’s Charity 1992 – Present

Why are you running for Councilor and what particular skills can you bring to the position?

As a Police Officer with nearly 41 years of experience, and devoted to helping improve the quality of life for all of us in Salem, I simply wish to continue serving my community.

My career began in 1978 as a Patrol Officer for over ten years I was assigned to the Point section of Salem.  I made many friends and enjoyed serving a largely immigrant population. Drawing from my own upbringing from immigrant parents I welcomed the opportunity to help break down barriers and educate many on the differences between our police department as compared to what they experienced with police in their countries.   It was my privilege to work and serve with a community that opened their homes and shared their culture with trust in my sincerity.

As a Detective for nearly 20 years, investigating crimes ranging from petty larcenies to murder, my strength was my tenacity, and my compassion genuine and true.

As a Sergeant during the start of Community Policing I was given the opportunity to help create several initiatives and programs including the Citizen’s Police Academy, Neighborhood Crime Watch, and Behind the Badge Access Television Show, all successful in helping to bring together the police department with our community.  

As a Lieutenant and Police Prosecutor for eleven years, my experience in our courts and with the judicial system allowed me to represent not only the police department’s efforts, but more importantly the victims of crimes and the impact on their lives.

As a Captain and Executive Officer my experiences now include commanding divisions, department budgeting and grant writing, and throughout my career working with the many city department and officials addressing the safety and concerns of our community.

As Public Information Officer for over 25 years, open, honest and truthful dialogue with the media and the public was key in maintaining transparency and the integrity of the Salem Police Department.

What are some of your proposed solutions towards resolving the housing crisis in Salem?At this point I cannot offer a simple solution to such a complicated and highly debated issue, but as a lifelong member of this community, and seeing the changes it has experienced over the last fifty years,  I am willing to listen, learn and represent what I believe is in the best interests of Salem.

How do you see Salem impacted by the climate crisis and what new initiatives would you take to lead Salem's resiliency efforts?

We all know climate change is real and as a waterfront community we have to seriously look at what changes are reasonably forecasted  and how we can work together to adapt with these changes.

Please outline some ideas you have that can enhance civic engagement at the city level.

To me civic engagement means open, honest and transparent dialogue not only between city administrators and staff, but more importantly with the community as a whole. Genuinely listening to even the smallest of issues, even those that may seem trivial or non-essential to most of us, are usually truly important to the person reporting them and should not be brushed aside. As a community impact supervisor, gaining the trust of the public meant genuinely caring and doing something about it.  

At-Large: Domingo Dominguez

 

Born in the Dominican Republic, Domingo Dominguez has called Salem home for the past twenty-five years. He is a proud husband and father to seven wonderful children. He has owned his current home on Raymond Road since 2000. He is able to communicate fluently in English and Spanish. Domingo currently serves as a City Councilor where he works collaboratively with his colleagues and community groups to bring transformative change to the City of Salem. As a Councilor Domingo sits as the Chairman for the Community & Economic Development Committee, is a member of the Ordinances, Licenses and Legal Affairs committee (OLLA) and is the liaison for Parks and Recreation. During his first term, he has participated in passing a balanced city budget, collaborated with colleagues and community groups to hold a series of community conversations to learn more of residents’ concerns, and has been committed to celebrating and getting to know all the different faces of Salem.

Outside of the Salem City Council, Domingo is a regional sales manager with IDT Corporation. His past work experience includes 15 years as an owner/operator of a multiservice business located in Salem. Prior to opening up his own company, he spent three years as a teacher in Salem Public Schools. Domingo is aware of the ongoing issues within Salem. He wants to continue to listen to your concerns to learn more. He will continue to strongly advocate for the health, safety and well-being of our neighborhoods and all of its residents.

Why are you running for Councilor and what particular skills can you bring to the position?

I am running to represent my family and my community. Family is the most important thing to me besides God, and Salem has given me support in raising my family and becoming a homeowner. I have learned through many experiences what it takes to have a beautiful life in Salem, and I want everyone who lives here to have that same opportunity. I have been a teacher, a business owner, a community leader, and raised a family. I know what to fight for because I know many Salem residents have the same dreams and concerns as me.

We have a large percentage of Latino residents and right now I am the only councilor who can communicate effectively in English and Spanish and have grown up in that culture. I have a strong belief in the importance of being independent and working across the aisle. I do not believe we can make the best decisions when politicians are working against each other, or when there are members of our community who do not think their voice is heard or that the people representing them already have their mind made up. I believe I have proven my dedication to this city and will work every day to continue to do so.

What are some of your proposed solutions towards resolving the housing crisis in Salem?

Salem has always been a city where working class people can make a life for themselves and their families and we need to continue to be that. Immigrants and minorities are likely to be the most affected if we cannot provide affordable housing solutions and I want to support everyone in my community. To resolve our issues around affordable housing I will be active and informed about solutions that will benefit as many people as possible while keeping our community whole. I will meet with developers, other government officials, businesses and employers, and members of our community to find the best solutions.

My proposal is that we develop a long-term plan for housing in Salem and stick to that plan. We need to be flexible enough to allow developers to provide new housing options, but we cannot displace our current residents. We need to be transparent and inform the community about what is happening and why, and we need to use housing formulas that include low income projects and mixed housing projects. I will work to make that happen, and I will not sign off on policies that move people out of our community.

How do you see Salem impacted by the climate crisis and what new initiatives would you take to lead Salem's resiliency efforts?

The whole world is impacted by the climate crisis. Salem is on the coast and could eventually have a problem if the sea level continues to rise. We need to continue to look for sustainable solutions. One initiative that I support and will to continue to support is promoting solar energy. Through Solarize Mass, Salem has partnered with Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC), the Department of Energy Resources (DOER) to offer cheaper solar energy for Salem residents. We also need to work with Salem State University and our local scientists and organizations to educate residents on steps everyone can take to live more sustainably. We can all try to carpool more, walk or use bicycles, use less water, pick up trash, and do little things to change the negative impact we are having on the climate.

Please outline some ideas you have that can enhance civic engagement at the city level.

The first thing to do is to continue to listen to Salem residents and be a voice for their ideas and concerns. I also want to offer more community conversations and events where all of Salem can come together to get educated on what is happening in the city and share their ideas and concerns. I want to make events available in multiple languages, so everyone has a voice. The last thing I want to do is to offer mentorship to people who want to run for official city positions or who want to learn what they can do to be involved. I want to make opportunities for everyone to be able to be involved in supporting Salem.

At-Large: Alice Merkl

My name is Alice Merkl, and I am a Salem resident, a homeowner, and a lifelong activist. I have lived in Massachusetts with my husband and daughter for over 20 years and made Salem my home in 2011. 

I attended Salter College for business and worked as an office manager in New York City before starting my own successful business as a music teacher. I currently teach in my community for a small, family-owned business. Additionally, I am a board member of my self-managed condominium association.

I am passionate about serving my community through my volunteer work. I have campaigned for Automatic Voter Registration and the MA Commission on the Status of Women Advocacy Day, and I volunteer for Common Cause Massachusetts, an organization dedicated to integrity in elections and transparency in government. I am a regular volunteer with the Salem Food Pantry and Mobile Market, also the Backpack Program for Salem children in need, The Community Life Center, Historic Salem Annual House Tours, and a supporter of organizations such as Salem's No Place for Hate and Voices Against Injustice, nAGLY, MoveOn, and the Sierra Club. 

Why are you running for Councilor and what particular skills can you bring to the position?

I am running for City Council because what affects our day to day quality of life, what we rely on the most, happens at the local level of government.  For me it’s about preserving our past, meeting the needs of our community members in the present, and planning responsibly for our future.  We are facing many challenges here in Salem, such as our housing crisis, keeping our schools strong and safe, the climate crisis, infrastructure and parking, and meeting the needs of our under-served residents to name a few.  It will take hard work, forward thinking, and a team effort to meet these challenges.  My life experiences, both personally and professionally, makes me uniquely qualified to be a strong advocate for the needs of our residents.  Having faced financial and housing challenges myself, I have the ability to “think outside of the box”, and come up with creative solutions for the challenges we face.  Also being a teacher and active volunteer here in Salem has given me the ability to recognize and advocate for the needs of all our community members.

What are some of your proposed solutions towards resolving the housing crisis in Salem?

Unfortunately there is no one solution that will solve our housing crisis. It will take strong leadership and a creative, aggressive approach to start creating more housing options for the 50% of Salem residents that are “rent overburdened”.  We must implement the broad range of tools/ideas at our disposal.  Some of the legislation and programs I support are as follows:

- Inclusionary zoning ordinance

- Accessory Dwelling Unit ordinance expansion

- Municipal and Religious Reuse Special Permit

- Proposal of a condo conversion ordinance to keep rental stock

- Utilize state programs for assistance (such as the proposed RAAP Rental Arrearage Assistance program, and RAFT Rental Assistance for Families in Transition)

- The North Shore CDC and Harborlight Community Partners’ efforts to create affordable housing

How do you see Salem impacted by the climate crisis and what new initiatives would you take to lead Salem's resiliency efforts?

We are not only facing a climate crisis, but being a coastal community we have an urgent need to address coastal resiliency.  People are facing flooding in coastal areas on a regular basis.  The Juniper Point neighborhood and Rosie’s Pond area both experience flooding, and other areas have flooding issues as well. Fortunately in Salem we have strong advocates for environmental protections working on numerous environmentally friendly initiatives.  As a City Councillor I will support the great work being done by SAFE (Salem Alliance for the Environment), SERC (Salem Sustainability, Energy and Resiliency Committee), our Recycling Committee, and Conservation Commission just to name a few!  I will advocate for any city buildings/projects to be as “green” as possible, and encourage any new developers to explore environmentally friendly options. 

There are so many great ideas being implemented by our community members involved with these impressive environmental groups!  I had the pleasure of being part of the planting of the Living Shoreline at Collins Cove by the Salem Sound Coastwatch to promote coastal resiliency.  It was an impressive project.  I also attended the Hazard Mitigation Plan Update at the Conservation Commission meeting on 8/8.  This plan assesses our risks and vulnerabilities to natural hazard events and develops measures to reduce or eliminate these risks. 

As with our affordable housing shortage, no one initiative is going to fix this crisis.  It will take a strong, forward thinking team effort to address our climate crisis here in Salem, and globally as well.

Please outline some ideas you have that can enhance civic engagement at the city level.

Civic engagement is something we do really well here in Salem!  I will continue to be involved in and enhance citywide efforts for neighborhood clean ups, “get out the vote” initiatives, and community food programs to name a few; and will support our neighborhood associations that keep our community members connected and involved.  As a City Councillor I will work on keeping our residents informed of community engagement opportunities through newsletters and social media. I will also seek out suggestions from our residents as they are our best resource for new ideas for civic engagement here in Salem.