(Ward 3 City Councilor Paul Capitanio, who had taken out nomination papers in May, has now decided not to seek re-election this year.)

PITTSFIELD -- Ward 3 City Councilor Paul Capitanio, who had taken out nomination papers in May, has now decided not to seek re-election this year.

Capitanio's announcement on Wednesday leaves the Ward 3 council position without a candidate. Other candidates have until Aug. 6 to submit nomination papers with 50 registered voter signatures to have their name placed on the ballot.

"I have really enjoyed being a city councilor and working with my constituents. I love this city and I plan to help the community, but not in this capacity," Capitanio said in a statement released on his behalf by Clerk Linda Tyer. "I will not be seeking re-election as the city councilor representing Ward 3. I want to enjoy this time in my life with my family, especially my three granddaughters and working at my business. It has been a pleasure working with both Mayor Bianchi and former Mayor Ruberto."

Tyer said those seeking to run in Ward 3 must be a resident of the ward and will need 50 valid voter signatures from ward residents to place their name on the city ballot. Nomination papers must be submitted for verification by Aug. 6.

The clerk said she still is researching what would happen if no candidate was elected or declined to serve in a city office, especially in light of a possible new city charter being approved in the Nov. 5 election.

Many provisions of the new charter apparently would take effect the day after the election, she said, except for those dealing with the length of office terms and similar sections, which would await the next election cycle.

Her reading at this point, Tyer said, is that a write-in candidate could be elected, and there doesn't appear to be a minimum vote level required for a ward race. Otherwise, under the current charter, a special election is required to fill such a vacancy, while with the proposed charter, the council could appoint a new councilor.

In other election news, potential candidates have surfaced for the mayor's race and for the School Committee.

Businessman Gerald F. Ely, of North Street, took out nomination papers for mayor. Mayor Daniel L. Bianchi, who is completing his first term, is seeking re-election in November.

And Brandon Mauer of West Housatonic Street has taken out papers for School Committee.

The School Committee race had been one potential candidate short for the six openings before Mauer took out papers. He will need 300 signatures by Aug. 6. Ely also will need 300 signatures to challenge for mayor.

In the other ward races, only Ward 1 Councilor Christine Yon faces possible challengers -- Tammy Ives of Sadler Avenue and Lisa Tully of Oak Hill Road. The other ward councilors are unopposed for re-election, and Ward 6 Councilor John Krol has yet to take out nomination papers but will face former Ward 7 Councilor Joseph Nichols if he enters the race.

The at-large council race for four seats has drawn the most attention. Incumbents Churchill Cotton, Melissa Mazzeo and Barry Clairmont have taken out papers, as have challengers Mark Miller of Williams Street, Edward Carmel of Second Street, Donna Todd Rivers of Jason Street, Kathleen Amuso and James Conant.

Amuso and Conant are leaving posts on the School Committee to run for the council, and committee Chairman Alfred E. "Alf" Barbalunga said this week he won't seek re-election, citing work and personal commitments.

Potential committee candidates for the six open seats are incumbents Daniel Elias and Katherine Yon and challengers Cynthia A. Taylor of Wendell Avenue and Brittany Lynne Douglas of Center Street, Joshua Cutler of Brookside Drive and Mauer.

To reach Jim Therrien:
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