LaVonne Griffin-Valade has been appointed Oregon’s new secretary of state, Democratic Gov. Tina Kotek announced in a news release Wednesday, filling the vacancy created when Shemia Fagan resigned last month over criticism for her consultancy work for a marijuana business.
Griffin-Valade worked as a government performance auditor for more than 16 years, according to Kotek’s news release.
“I told Oregonians in May that the primary objective of our next Secretary of State was to restore confidence in the office. LaVonne Griffin-Valade has the professional background and ethical judgment to rise above politics and lead the important work of the agency forward,” Kotek said. “This role demands accountability and transparency, especially at this moment, and I am eager to see her leadership restore faith in the Secretary of State’s office.”
Fagan quit her post in early May after coming under fire for her side work for as a paid consultant for marijuana retailer La Mota. Her consulting job paid $10,000 a month, not including bonuses. The secretary of state’s salary is $77,000 annually.
Fagan worked for two months for La Mota while her office was wrapping up an audit of the Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission. The business has come under financial scrutiny, allegedly owing $1.7 million in unpaid bills and more in state and federal taxes, Willamette Week reported.
The new secretary of state, Griffin-Valade, was hired as an auditor for Multnomah County, home to Portland, in 1998. She then served as the elected Portland City Auditor from 2009 to 2014, according to Wednesday’s news release.
“I have the experience to bring back credibility, accountability, transparency, and trust to the Secretary of State’s office,” Griffin-Valade said in the news release. “It’s never been more important to have a leader who will focus on rebuilding the public’s trust in the Secretary of State’s office, and that is exactly what I will aim to do every day.”
Griffin-Valade will serve the remaining 18 months of the current term. She will be sworn in Friday in the state capital Salem.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.