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EXCLUSIVE: Sundlun & Pell Aide to be New Speaker’s Chief of Staff

Monday, March 24, 2014


GoLocalProv has learned that former top aide to Governor Bruce Sundlun and U.S. Senator Claiborne Pell, Leo Skenyon will be tapped as the Chief of Staff to Nick Mattiello.

Mattiello, as GoLocal Tweeted on Friday afternoon is expected to have the votes to replace Gordon Fox who resigned Saturday after his State House office was raided by FBI and IRS agents on Friday morning.

Most recently, Skenyon is the Traffic Tribunal Clerk. He replaces Frank Anzeveno who stepped down earlier today.



Related Slideshow: Fox Scandal: Winners and Losers

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Peter F, Neronha, U.S. Attorney

The bold action by the Federal Bureau of Investigation coupled with Internal Revenue Service investigators raiding the Speaker of the House's office was a major statement by federal authorities.

The investigation tied to now-former Speaker Fox sets expectations of a far broader probe.

Neronha has also indicted developer Richard Baccari and was key to the http://www.golocalprov.com/news/9949/">Google Settlement that brought $230 million to Rhode Island. 

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Senate President M. Teresa Paiva Weed


Generally, the Senate President plays second fiddle to the Speaker of the House, but with a new Speaker to be voted on as early as Tuesday, Paiva Weed's influence will shoot up in the transition.


She will be more influential in the budget process.


Look for Paiva Weed to make a move on controlling the Joint Committee on Legislative Services - the proverbial legislative grab bag for jobs and grants.

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Majority Leader Nick Mattiello


As GoLocal Tweeted on Friday, the Cranston Representative and Majority Leader has the edge to take control of the House.


Mattiello (as of Sunday Night) has approximately 40 votes and the momentum necessary to replace Fox.


Mattiello has strong support from former Speaker and lobbyist Bill Murphy. A Mattiello Speakership may cause a big shake up in Committee Chairs and senior staffing.

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Former Speaker Bill Murphy


Murphy and Fox worked together for more than a decade and their relationship had both ups and downs. Nick Mattiello, if elected Speaker, is a close ally to former Speaker Bill Murphy.


Murphy had served as Speaker from 2003 to 2010. The former legislator has a successful criminal defense practice and is a lobbyist for notable clients (2013) for UTGR (Twin River), Advance America Cash Advance, and the Brotherhood of Correction Officers.


Murphy will emerge as an ever greater influencer with Mattiello as Speaker.

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Gina Raimondo


The resignation by Gordon Fox is a political hit to the General Treasurer who went big for Fox in his surprisingly tough re-election against story teller Mark Binder.


Binder hit Fox both for his role in 38 Studios and his legal work for PEDP applicants.


Raimondo decided to publicly support Fox and walk his district with the embattled Speaker.


It should be noted that Providence Mayor Angel Taveras also supported Fox, but Raimondo claims to be the reformer in this race.

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Fox's Committee Chairs (if Mattiello wins)


Fox loyalists who have pledged their support to Michael Marcello will be in trouble as will their agendas if Mattiello is in fact elected Speaker on Tuesday. 


Committee Chairs like Helio Mello, Edith Ajello, and Arthur "Doc" Corvese might all be replaced as they backed Marcello. 

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Providence's Budget


For the past decade, Providence could always count of Gordon Fox to help bail the Providence Budget out of trouble.


From Finance Committee Chair, then-Majority Leader and ultimately-Speaker, Providence Mayors knew that Fox -- the Mount Hope section of Providence Representative -- would increase aid to Providence in one way or another. 


Providence always found an extra few millions from Fox. That access is likely to end in 2014 further impacting the City of Providence's budget issues.

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Legalization of Marijuana


The pieces were falling together for the effort to pass legislation to legalize marijuana in Rhode Island. Speaker Fox was a social progressive. Judiciary Committee Chair Edith Ajello, who may lose her post in the power shift, was the legislation's sponsor and in command of the key committee.


In addition, Governor Lincoln Chafee has voiced support for the idea.


But, a shift to a more conservative Mattiello would throw a barrier in the way to a 2014 passage.


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Didn't this guy file for bankruptcy? Why would you choose a guy that can'y handle his own finances working on our states finances. Another dirty insider. Nothing changes.

Comment #1 by Redd Ratt on 2014 03 24

It is amazing how people believe everything they hear.....I can tell you I personally worked
with Leo Skenyon at the Traffic Tribunal for many many years.....He is a hard working
individual who has gotten a bad rap from this incredibly narrow minded state, who base views from one sided information.....Leo was always in work rarely taking time he was entitled to take.....He is not a slacker like many other state employees, who feel it is there born right.......He has worked hard for the traffic tribunal in the clerks office....I witnessed this on a daily basis! He is bright and knows how to get things done....his profesionalism should
be appauled.....The reason things stay the same is the attitudes of the haters in Rhode Island.

Comment #2 by Dawn Archambo on 2014 03 24

Redd Ratt
And the rest of rightie-rubes who will comment here President Abraham Lincoln (R) also filled for Bankruptcy. His opponents used that info against him over and over again ...LOL

Comment #3 by Sammy Arizona on 2014 03 25

Leo Skenyon is a contentious and honest public servant. Mr. Skenyon is a class act and a excellent choice to fill this position.

Comment #4 by George Lenihan on 2014 03 25

Please excuse me, I meant conscientious.

Comment #5 by George Lenihan on 2014 03 25

He might be a great guy. But he can't balance his own finances, so why would we want him handling the states. Perhaps he's not a dirty insider. Perhaps he's a squeaky clean, conscientious, honest insider. Either way, people that file for bankruptcy don't have the financial acumen to work on our state budget. And a lot of people are saying what a nice guy Gordon Fox is.

Comment #6 by Redd Ratt on 2014 03 25

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