Providence City Council hires new press secretary

Providence City Council chambers. (Photo by Dan McGowan/WPRI 12)

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The Providence City Council has hired Billy Kepner as its press secretary, chief of staff Cyd McKenna confirmed Wednesday.

Kepner, a 41-year-old Pennsylvania native who now lives on the East Side, will start his $61,000-a-year job on Oct. 30. He replaces Michaela Antunes, who left her post in July to become chief of staff for East Greenwich Town Manager Gayle Corrigan.

In a phone interview, Kepner said he moved to Providence a year ago when his husband accepted a position at Brown University. He previously worked at Cornell University and was then a consultant for a Rhode Island nonprofit.

“This is a way to give back to a city I’ve fallen in love with,” Kepner said.

The City Council has been without a permanent president since Ward 10 Councilman Luis Aponte resigned the leadership post in May after he was charged with embezzling from his campaign fund. He remains a member of the council. Ward 15 Councilwoman Sabina Matos was promoted to acting president, but no vote has been called to select a leader for the rest of the term.

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Dan McGowan ( dmcgowan@wpri.com ) covers politics, education and the city of Providence for WPRI.com. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter: @danmcgowan