LYNN — In front of a packed room of supporters in the City Council chambers, community activist Fred Hogan was selected as the city’s next Ward 6 councilor on Tuesday night.
It took two votes by the City Council, but it was ultimately unanimous for Hogan, who was sworn into his new position following the vote and participated in the remainder of the panel’s meeting for the first time.
“(I was) definitely nervous,” Hogan said. “You never know how things are going to go. One day, you’re just a normal guy doing everything for the city, and now you just stepped it up a little and you’re going to be doing a little bit more. You want to do real good for the city of Lynn.”
In the first vote, Ward 5 Councilor Dianna Chakoutis and Councilor-at-Large Hong Net voted for Donald Castle, assistant chief probation officer in Suffolk Superior Court. But Chakoutis and Net opted to change their vote to Hogan.
Hogan replaces Peter Capano, who stepped down as Ward 6 Councilor last month and was sworn into the state legislature last week. Capano was elected in November to represent West Lynn and Nahant and opted not to serve out the remainder of his term on the City Council.
Hogan, following the appointment, will serve out Capano’s term and will have to win the election in November to keep the seat. He has already stated he will launch a full campaign later this month and has the support of Capano, whom he cites as a mentor.
Castle has announced he is running for the seat as well.
“I look forward to vigorously campaigning this summer by bringing my message of real change to our city government,” Castle said. “I prefer to be elected by the people of Ward 6 and not appointed by politicians.”
Under City Charter rules, if a seat becomes open on the council, the person who came in second gets the job. But since Capano ran unopposed in the last local election, the council was responsible for choosing his replacement by majority vote.
“After long debate with my fellow councilors for the last few weeks, we decided that Fred would be the best choice for the position right now,” City Council President Darren Cyr said, citing Hogan’s activity in the community and knowledge of the ward. “It will be left up to the voters to make that decision.”
Councilor-at-Large Brian Field said he would have preferred not to hurt or help anyone running for the position, but he can’t change the City Charter, which calls for the council to appoint someone.
Hogan, a Lynn Classical High School graduate, works as a Grade 2 wastewater operator and site safety coordinator for the Lynn Wastewater Treatment Plant and is one of the founding members, with Capano, of Lynn’s Stop the Violence Initiative.
He is currently an assistant football coach at Lynn Classical, but plans to step down after his appointment. He has coached football and basketball in the city for 25 years, including stints at Lynn English and Lynn Vocational Technical Institute.