Witch the Vote Volume 1: The Basics of Salem's City Government

Witch the Vote Volume 1: The Basics of Salem's City Government

MEDITATION RECORDING: GEMINI FULL MOON Reading Witch the Vote Volume 1: The Basics of Salem's City Government 4 minutes Next DOMESTIC VIOLENCE RESOURCES

Salem is a city with a Mayor and City Council. The  neighborhoods of Salem are divided into seven wards, and further into voting precincts which determine where you go to vote in elections.  Check out this Ward Map to see which ward you live in. 

Each ward elects one Ward Councilor to represent their interests on City Council. Then everyone in Salem elects four Councilors at Large who represent the whole city "at large". These elections are non-partisan. 

Salem’s Major Government Officials


Dominick Pangallo Mayor of Salem (978) 619-5600 mayor@salem.org


City Councilors: 

Alice Merkl (Our actual favorite person!

Councilor At Large 978-621-9693 amerkl@salem.com
Ty Hapworth Councilor At Large 207-659-4755   thapworth@salem.com
Kyle Davis Councilor At Large 978-995-4818 kdavis@salem.com
Conrad Prosniewski Councilor At Large 978-375-7221 cprosniewski@salem.com
Cindy Jerzylo Ward 1 Councilor 978-394-6780 cjerzylo@salem.com
Caroline Watson-Felt Ward 2 Councilor 978-515-3593 cwatsonfelt@salem.com
Patti Morsillo Ward 3 Councilor 978-317-4697 pmorsillo@salem.com
John Harvey Ward 4 Councilor 978-494-1144 jharvey@salem.com
Jeff Cohen Ward 5 Councilor 978-587-1443 jcohen@salem.com
Meg Stott Ward 6 Councilor - City Council President 781-486-3525 mstott@salem.com
Andy Varela Ward 7 Councilor 978-548-8455 avarela@salem.com


What can I ask my city councilors about?

You can reach out to your ward councilor for anything related to your neighborhood, the city, laws in the area, complaints, concerns, or comments about the City of Salem (potholes on your street, why that Comcast truck has been parked in front of your house for a week, if there are plans to put public art on that blank wall, questions about items on the city council agenda, etc). They're your main point of contact in Salem's city government. The councilors at large are worth contacting alongside your ward councilor about these so they're kept in the loop (and for accountability)! They typically have more information about cross-ward and citywide issues.

Each city councilor, ward AND at large, also sits on various boards and committees that meet individually to deal with different genres, if you will, of city issues. So if you live in Ward 2 but have a question about ADA accessibility on Essex street, you'd want to contact both Caroline Watson-Felt, the Ward 2 councilor, AND Jeff Cohen, the city council liaison for the Commission on Disabilities. You can contact all city councilors at once by emailing  councillors@salem.com, which is helpful for showing support or dissent for things the council is voting on!

Wait, WHAT does a committee do? 
When something goes to committee, like an ordinance, amendment, zoning issue, etc, it means that a few councillors + other appointed commissioners work separately on an issue before it gets voted on by city council. Committees and boards are basically like focus groups that specialize in different areas; there are committees for issues like housing, sustainability, historic preservation, etc. Find a whole list of Salem's boards and committees here

How can I get involved directly in city government?
City Council and Committee meetings are open to the public, and are the best way to get an up-close look at the councilors and the issues the city is focusing on. It's also the best way to get your councilors familiar with you, too! These meetings are scheduled for the second and fourth Thursdays of every month (pending holidays and weather) and are livestreamed through Zoom, so you can watch and even give Public Testimony from home (more on Public Testimony later!) Recordings of these meetings are posted on the Salem Access Television YouTube Channel, if you want to get an ear for the language before diving in live. A Witch the Voter is at every regular City Council Meeting, so if you want to attend IRL with a buddy you can meet us outside HausWitch at 6:45 on meeting nights to walk over together. 

Once you're feeling familiar with the city council and committees, you should consider applying to serve on a board or even running in the next election! 

What are organizations that can help keep me updated on local politics?
Witch the Vote, of course! But also keep an eye on the Salem League of Women Voters, the Salem Commoner, Salem News, and SATV YouTube. You can also search Facebook for groups and pages like your neighborhood association and the Community Life Center on Bridge Street which hosts info sessions and forums. 



The days of the week carry just as much energy and symbolism as the months of the year or the phases of the moon, and that can be helpful for witches who like to time their spells with the vibe of the moment!Inside you'll find practices, associations and allies for each day of the week to help you infuse every day with magic.