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Correia resigns from Providence City Council leadership after report on secret recordings

Target 12

Councilman Michael Correia (file photo)

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Councilman Michael Correia has resigned as president pro tem of the Providence City Council following a Target 12 report on secret recordings made of him in the council office.

The recorded conversations included offensive language directed toward a transgender activist, Justice Gaines, who frequently engages with council and once ran for City Council herself.

“The conversation was inappropriate and offensive to her and all members of the LGBTQIA Community and quite frankly should be offensive to everyone,” Correia wrote in an announcement on Facebook.

Following Target 12’s report, several of Correia’s colleagues on the council, along with members of the community, called for him to step down. Council President Sabina Matos asked him to resign from leadership on Thursday.

Correia submitted a brief letter to the Providence City Clerk’s office Friday, writing: “I hereby resign from my position as City Council President Pro-Tempore effectively immediately.”

There was not a clear path to remove Correia if he did not resign, as he was elected by the full council in January 2019 to the leadership position under the city charter. The term as president pro tem would have lasted until 2023.

Correia said he met with Gaines before making the announcement to ask for her forgiveness, which he said she accepted.

“I understand these actions have broken trust between myself and the public and I am asking for the opportunity to earn back that trust through conversation and from working together with all our residents,” he added.

Correia, a Democrat who represents the Mount Pleasant and Manton neighborhoods of Ward 6, remains on the City Council. He has two years left in his term, and cannot run for re-election because of term limits.

Steph Machado (smachado@wpri.com) covers Providence, politics and more for WPRI 12. Follow her on Twitter and on Facebook

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