Wednesday June 1, 2011

PITTSFIELD -- A former City Council president is the latest council candidate aiming to mount a political comeback.

Richard A. Scapin, who served as Ward 5 councilor from 1998-2004 -- including two years as council president -- is running for one of the four councilor at large seats in Pittsfield's fall election. He joins Ozias "Chuck" Vincelette and Anthony V. Maffuccio who seek a return as Ward 4 councilor and Ward 7 councilor respectively.

All three were voted off the 11-member panel: Scapin in 2003, Vincelette in 2005 and Maffuccio in 2009.

With at least four -- and possibly up to eight -- new councilors to be chosen in the Nov. 8 general election, Scapin believes his prior experience would help guide a council with so many newcomers. Four incumbents aren't seeking another two-year term, while four others expect challengers to their re-election bids.

"I understand the budget process and I understand the city charter," he said. "Besides, I've had a lot of people urge me to run again."

Scapin, 53 and a longtime employee of Berkshire Gas Co., also plans to conduct a no-frills campaign that will be devoid of political signs and fundraisers; out-of-pocket expense only.

"I'm telling people to give their money to an organization that needs it," he said.

Scapin and 2009 mayoral candidate Nicholas J. Caccamo are the seventh and eighth candidates to take out nomination papers for the at large contests. Incumbents Melissa Mazzeo and Kevin J. Sherman, along with Churchill Cotton, Thomas Sakshaug, Barry J. Clairmont and Mark L. Pallos are the other at large candidates.

If one more council hopeful begins circulating papers and all nine gather the required 300 signatures to get on the ballot, it would trigger a primary contest on Sept. 27. The top eight finishers would be on the Nov. 8 ballot.

Caccamo, 25, was a newcomer to Pittsfield politics who managed to finish fourth in the 10-person preliminary mayoral contest two years ago. The Pittsfield High School teacher who serves on the city's Green Commission wants to be a fresh voice on the council.

"Hopefully I can give a new viewpoint on the issues or bring something to the table others have not," Caccamo said.

Another potential preliminary contest is in Ward 7 as Dennis Marauszwski, 56, joins Maffuccio and Loren V. Paduano looking to replace Joseph C. Nichols, who is running for mayor. The top two in the ward races advance to the general election.

Marauszwski entered the political contest because it "lacked a viable candidate."

"I'm no shrinking violet," said the retired GE Plastics employee. "People have told me I should run because I'm not afraid to speak my mind."

Ward 4 remains the most crowded race with four candidates circulating nomination papers, all vying to succeed Michael L. Ward, who decided against chasing a fourth term. Wards 2 and 3 are currently two-person contests, while the incumbents in Wards 1, 5 and 6 lack challengers -- so far. Nomination papers are still available in the city clerk's office and are due by Aug. 9 to the registrar of voters for certification.

To reach Dick Lindsay:
rlindsay@berkshireeagle.com,
or (413) 496-6233.