PROVIDENCE, R.I. – One day after Providence city councilors overwhelmingly voted "no confidence” in Council President Luis Aponte, one councilor is calling for action.
David Salvatore (Ward 14) feels the city charter should be amended so that someone in Aponte's situation wouldn't be allowed to lead the council. "Right now there is a cloud, a dark cloud, hanging over city hall that we as a legislative body are corrupt," Salvatore said.
Aponte was recently indicted on several charges, including embezzlement. He's refusing to step down and the council has no authority to make him. There is nothing written in the charter about removing a council president.
"[Aponte’s] selfish act yesterday is a distraction to the city," said Salvatore.
As it stands, Aponte won't be going anywhere, unless there's a recall election. Earlier this month, an overwhelming amount of voters chose to recall Councilman Kevin Jackson, who is also charged with embezzlement.
Given aponte's support at a press conference Monday, a recall election that may be unlikely. Twenty percent of voters in his ward would have to sign a petition.
But if Aponte is one day convicted of his felony charges, he would lose his seat.
Aponte maintains his innocence. "I believe that we are still a nation of laws and the constitution still prevails,” he told ABC6 News. “I, like every other citizen, [am] entitled to the presumption of innocence."
A council president in Providence serves a 4 year term. Aponte is not up for re-election until the end of 2018.
The next full city council meeting is Thursday night.