PITTSFIELD -- Ward 3 Councilor Paul Capitanio did not attend Tuesday's City Council meeting, the first since his arraignment on drug-related charges.
Council President Kevin Sherman made a statement at the beginning of the session, saying he'd been in contact with Capitanio's attorney, Timothy J. Shugrue. The lawyer said he had advised Capitanio to "abstain" from the council proceedings, Sherman said.
Capitanio was charged Aug. 20 in Central Berkshire District Court with conspiracy to possess oxycodone and accessory after the fact.
The councilor is not seeking re-election, having announced his decision not to run in July. Four candidates are competing in a Sept. 24 preliminary election contest to select two finalists for the ward seat in the Nov. 5 election.
Asked last month how the charges against Capitanio might affect his position on the council, City Clerk Linda Tyer said a councilor is not required under the city charter to attend meetings, and that, should he submit his resignation, no special election to replace Capitanio would be required since the election is only a few months off.
The current city council terms expire in January, when the new council and other city officials will be sworn in.
Prosecutors allege that Capitanio, 57, tipped off a drug dealer, from whom he was buying pain pills, about a planned drug raid. Through his attorney, he has adamantly denied the charges. Capitanio is free on $500 bail.
A councilor since 2009, his family owns the popular East Side Cafe on Newell Street.
To reach Jim Therrien:
or (413) 496-6247
On Twitter: @BE_therrien