Frank Anzeveno, who served as the powerful chief of staff for former House speaker Gordon Fox, is giving up his post.
“In light of recent events at the Statehouse, time has accelerated. I cleaned out my office over the weekend in anticipation that a new Speaker needs to bring in his own staff," Anzeveno says in a statement released Monday.
Anzeveno, a former state rep from North Providence, also served as chief of staff to Fox's predecessor, former speaker Bill Murphy. From his perch on Smith Hill, Anzeveno has been involved in supporting and opposing various candidates in legislative races, attracting complaints along the way that he was too powerful. He was paid an annual salary of more than $160,000 a year as chief of staff.
While Fox said prior to his resignation Saturday that he planned to seek re-election as speaker next January, Anzeveno says, “Privately, I have known for a while that Gordon Fox would not be running for another term. He did not want to announce that decision so that the focus would be on the many challenging issues before the House of Representatives. With this knowledge and consultation with my family, I made the decision to leave at the end of this session in June. I had previously been in contact with the Employees’ Retirement System of Rhode Island and the Joint Committee on Legislative Services to make an informed decision."
Anzeveno's exit is the first in a series of changes expected after the House votes for a new speaker Tuesday. Majority Leader Nicholas Mattiello says he has the votes, while Representative Michael Marcello has pledged to take the fight to the House floor.
Fox's resignation over the weekend came after state and federal investigators raided his Statehouse office and East Side home on Friday. The reason for the probe remains unknown, and investigators have not specified their focus.
In his statement, Anzeveno closes with this: “It has been an honor for me to have witnessed the hard work, dedication and commitment that our public officials, as well as the loyal and conscientious staff, bring to the Statehouse every day. I will always respect the House of Representatives and wish them the best in tackling the difficult issues before them.”