Secretary of State's office. (Caleb Wolf/Special to Salem Reporter)
Deputy Secretary of State Rich Vial has resigned his position.
Vial submitted his resignation to Secretary of State Bev Clarno on Monday, Jan. 6, with an effective date of Friday, Jan. 10.
In the letter to Clarno, Vial said he resigned with “very mixed emotion,” was grateful for the opportunity and would miss working in the secretary of state’s office.
Previously, Vial served one term as a Republican state representative for a district that includes portions of Clackamas and Washington counties. Last year, Secretary of State Bev Clarno picked him to be her deputy after she was appointed to fill out the term of the late Dennis Richardson.
In his letter, Vial hinted at future public service.
“I feel more inspired than ever to make sure that I continue to search for those places that my services might be most effective,” he wrote. “In this moment of extreme partisanship, I desire not only to see better government, but perhaps to help bring a more positive tone to the conversations necessary to achieve that goal. I am committed to being ready to serve when the opportunity arises.”
Vial has been floated as a possible Republican candidate for secretary of state, a position up for election this year and that Democrats are intent on retaking.
“I haven’t ruled out any opportunity that might present itself as a place that I can serve,” said Vial when asked if he would run for the office.
Vial said that he didn’t know what he was going to do next but would look for his “next opportunity to serve.” In the meantime, he said he still has his law license and a position with his former law firm, Vial, Fotheringham, LLP, which has an office in Lake Oswego.
His legal work drew scrutiny late last year when The Oregonian/Oregonlive reported that while serving as deputy secretary he continued his legal work, representing clients with cases pending before state agencies he had the power to have audited.
Asked in an interview if he was asked to resign, Vial responded that his resignation letter speaks for itself.
Clarno couldn’t be reached for comment but praised Vial in the press release.
“Deputy Vial has so much to offer government,” said Clarno in the press release. “His thoughtfulness, leadership, and collaborative spirit make him an exemplary public servant, and I have greatly appreciated his advice and assistance during my time as Secretary of State.”
The press release stated that Andrea Chiapella, who serves as the office’s legislative director, will serve the office's media contact, a role previously handled by Vial.
According to Chiapella, Vial will not receive severance pay and was paid a salary of $15,388 a month.
Contact reporter Jake Thomas at 503-575-1251 or [email protected] or @jakethomas2009.
Correction: This article has been updated to reflect Andrea Chiapella's role in the office.