(Secretary of State Bev Clarno)
The top three executives of the Secretary of State’s Office were asked to resign Monday morning, and have vacated their positions.
Leslie Cummings, acting secretary of state, Deb Royal, chief of staff and communications director, and Steve Elizinga, governmental and legal affairs director, are out.
There was no information available from the office on whether there would be other key staff changes.
The move came on the first business day of Secretary Bev Clarno’s time in office, although she was not in the office as of Monday afternoon. Clarno was appointed last week by Gov. Kate Brown and was sworn in Sunday. She is filling the remainder of Dennis Richardson’s term. He died in February.
Secretary of State staff would not comment on the moves, but the departures were confirmed Monday by Royal. She declined to elaborate.
Brown's spokeswoman, Kate Kondayen, said Monday that Brown had no role in the decisions.
"Secretary of State Bev Clarno’s staffing decisions were made completely independently of the Governor and her staff, and were not considered as a part of her selection," Kondayen said via email. "The Governor’s office made no requests or demands of Secretary Clarno with respect to her staffing decisions."
Clarno apparently does not have a state email or phone number set up yet, and has asked the media to contact her through a Gmail account.
Questions to that account about the terminations from Salem Reporter weren’t answered.
“Secretary Clarno will also be meeting with state leaders and will begin to build her staff leadership team who will support her service,” the unsigned email reply read. “The Office of the Secretary of State will not comment on any staff transitions as they are personnel matters.”
Reporter Aubrey Wieber: [email protected] or 503-575-1251.
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