Gordon Fox

RIPR FILE

The Rhode Island House of Representatives is expected to cap a dramatic sequence of events unfolding over the last few days by electing a new speaker Tuesday. The change was set in motion last Friday when state and federal authorities raided House Speaker Gordon Fox’s East Side home and Statehouse office. Fox resigned from his leadership position the next day, saying he doesn’t plan to seek re-election to his state rep seat in November.

Education officials are taking a "wait and see" approach to leadership changes at the Statehouse, with several education bills pending in the legislature.

"We've had a good relationship with leadership over time," said Elliot Krieger, the spokesman for State Education Commissioner Deborah Gist. "Like everyone else, we're waiting to see what the new leadership will be."

UPDATE: Williams (Labor) Ajello (Judiciary) Melo (Finance) out as committee chairs as Mattiello takes over.

As has been the case since its days as a British colony, Rhode Island’s florid political culture is once again enmeshed in upheaval because of chicanery in high places.

The abrupt demise of Rhode Island House Speaker Gordon Fox of Providence means another episode of   `As the Rhode Island Statehouse turns.’

The successor to House Speaker Gordon Fox is expected to be elected Tuesday when the House of Representatives meets tomorrow, for the first time since the raid that spelled the end of Fox's 21-year career in the General Assembly. As we've reported, the battle pits House Majority Leader Nicholas Mattiello (D-Cranston) and Representative Michael Marcello (D-Scituate) against one another.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

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.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

After a weekend of intense lobbying for the votes to succeed former House Speaker Gordon Fox, one challenger, Representative Michael Marcello (D-Scituate), vowed Monday morning to take the fight to the House floor, even as House Majority Leader Nicholas Mattiello (D-Cranston) claimed to be consolidating his support.

"Going all the way," Marcello told RIPR Monday morning. "We need to let people know who is reform and real change and who is with the status quo."

Ian Donnis / RIPR

UPDATE: 3:46 pm Sunday. Factions led by Majority Leader Nicholas Mattiello and Michael Marcello are meeting today in an attempt to win enough votes for the speakership. Mattiello is holding a 5 pm caucus at the Providence Marriott on Orms Street. A vote to choose a successor to Gordon Fox could happen as soon as Tuesday. I'll have more details later. Follow me on Twitter for updates.

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This just in: Gordon Fox has resigned as RI House Speaker. Here's why in a post that predicted this and was posted several hours before the Fox announcement:

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Once again, Rhode Island is attracting national attention for all the wrong reasons. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay has some thoughts about the federal raid on Speaker Gordon Fox’s office.

The specter of corruption in high political office haunts Rhode Island. As it has seemingly forever. For a state still in the grip of the recession, there are few things worse than the scene at the Statehouse Friday.

RIPR FILE

In the famous words of Yogi Berra, `it ain’t over till its over.’ RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay explains why that’s the case with the latest twist in Rhode Island’s public employee pension settlement.

In many a long legal  battle, a settlement reached out of court marks the end of a contentious lawsuit. The opposing parties shake hands and sometimes share an odd drop. Then they put the dispute behind them.

In the famous words of Yogi Berra, `it ain’t over till its over.’ RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay explains why that’s the case with the latest twist in Rhode Island’s public employee pension settlement.

In many a long legal  battle, a settlement reached out of court marks the end of a contentious lawsuit. The opposing parties shake hands and sometimes share an odd drop. Then they put the dispute behind them.

In most protracted court battles, a settlement reached after tortuous year-long negotiations marks the end of a lawsuit and allows the parties to move forward. Often the lawyers celebrate and perhaps even share an odd drop together.

That wasn’t the case Friday. The  proposed legal settlement between the state and the unions that represent public school teachers and state employees and retirees is just the beginning of a cumbersome ratification process that is sure to become ensnared in what is shaping up as a contentious political campaign season in Rhode Island.

What everyone in the Rhode Island political swirl should understand about the state pension overhaul settlement details that are due for release tomorrow: This is very likely to be only the beginning of a protracted process.

One thing we know for sure. Even if it is fair and reasonable, not everyone is going to like it. Some unionized state employees and teachers will not be satisfied with anything less than a full restoration of the pension benefits that were sliced dramatically in the 2011 special General Assembly pension session.

This just in from RIPR's Ian Donnis:

Gov. Lincoln Chafee, State  Treasurer Gina Raimondo, House Speaker Gordon Fox and Senate President Tersea  Paiva Weed met privately at the State House this afternoon for  a 90-minute closed-door briefing on the proposed state pension overhaul legal settlement.

The settlement details are scheduled to be released on Wednesday.  The parties to the pension lawsuit have been under a gag order by Superior Court Judge Sarah Taft-Carter for more than a year. None of the state officials in today’s meeting disclosed any settlement details.

Thanks for stopping by for a visit with my weekly column. Your tips and thoughts are always welcome via idonnis (at) ripr (dot) org, and you can follow me all week long on the twitters.

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