Former Newport Mayor Steve Waluk has stepped down as Newport’s chief elections administrator effective immediately according to a statement released Sunday.
“Earlier today, I decided that in the best interest of the City of Newport I would leave my position as Election Administrator effective Friday, July 21, and informed the City Manager of my intent. The last couple of weeks have proven challenging as a result of media coverage surrounding my earlier departure from the Rhode Island District Court in December 2022. I willingly accept the personal price for the poor choices and mistakes I made. As I have stated previously, I always treated staff with dignity and respect in my role within the court system. The careless and harmful words in personal text messages to a friend were not reflected in the work I did or who I am as a person,” Waluk said.
The statement continued, “I have served on the City of Newport’s Zoning Board, was elected five times to the City Council, served two terms as Mayor, and am the immediate past president of the Newport Public Library. My commitment to the City of Newport is evident. So, when the position of canvassing clerk became available, I thought I would be a natural fit for that role. Since assuming the position on April 18 of this year and quickly getting up to speed in the role, I have made it a personal priority to conduct community outreach among the underserved with a focus on equity and inclusion, among other important duties.”
“The work of the office has proven rewarding and productive leading up to the congressional special election. However, through actions and public statements by certain members of the Canvassing Authority, it has become abundantly clear that I could not succeed in my role as Election Administrator, hence my decision today. Beginning with the interview process, the chair of the Canvassing Authority has publicly interfered with my role in the City every step of the way. In addition, the recent appointment of a new member to the Authority has precipitated a highly partisan environment in a department that should be a non-partisan body.”
“This position provided me with an opportunity to serve the City I love and to begin to move forward. I had hoped to be judged by the work I’m doing, not the mistakes I have made in the past. I thank the City administration and staff at City Hall for their professionalism and the support they provided me in my job,” Waluk concluded.
Waluk previously resigned from his position as Chief Administrator of the District Court after a series of off-color text messages between Waluk and a colleague, who was one of his closest friends and a member of his wedding party, surfaced in December 2022.
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