Attorney General-elect Andy Beshear unveils leadership team
12/17/2015 01:12 PM
FRANKFORT – Attorney General-elect Andy Beshear announced his leadership team on Thursday, which he says will ensure his priorities of protecting children, families and seniors are achieved.
Beshear has selected former state Personnel Cabinet Secretary Tim Longmeyer as Deputy Attorney General. Longmeyer was a prosecutor for more than 14 years in Jefferson County. As head of the Personnel Cabinet, he served as chair of the Kentucky Group Health Insurance Board, served on the Kentucky Retirement Systems Board, and presided over administration, payroll and benefits for employees throughout state government.
Beshear has structured the Office of the Attorney General to include three assistant deputy attorneys general which will head the office’s three branches – criminal, civil and family.
The Criminal Branch will be led by J.Michael Brown, who served previously as secretary of the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet for eight years; Brown also previously served as a district court judge in Jefferson County.
Within the Criminal Branch, Gina Carey will serve as the executive director for the Office of the Prosecutors Advisory Council, a position she has held since 2013.
Vickie Wise will head the Office of Criminal Appeals. Wise previously served as an assistant attorney general in the Office of Criminal Appeals, director of the Office of Victims Advocacy and as director of the Office of Administrative Services.
The Special Prosecutions unit will be directed by Shawna Virgin Kincer, who currently serves as the executive director of the office.
John Moberly, who has 24 years experience with the Kentucky State Police and is a certified Kentucky Law Enforcement Counsel Instructor, will head the Department of Criminal Investigations.
The Civil Branch will be headed by Mitchel T. Denham who currently oversees the office’s Criminal Division and previously served as the executive director of the Attorney General’s Office of Medicaid Fraud and Abuse Control.
La Tasha Buckner will head the Office of Civil and Environmental Law. Buckner has 16 years of litigation experience before federal, state and administrative bodies.
Michael Wright, who served in the Office of the Attorney General for over 20 years, will manage the Office of Medicaid Fraud and Abuse, while Rebecca Goodman will manage the Office of Rate Intervention. Goodman has served as general counsel for the department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, the Executive Branch Ethics Commission, and the Kentucky Electric Generation and Transmission Siting Board.
Maryellen Buxton Mynear will lead the newly created Family Branch. Mynear has served as the inspector general for the Cabinet for Health and Family Services.
Within the Family Branch, Gerina Whethers will lead the Office of Senior Protection. Whethers currently serves as the executive director in the Office of Victims Advocacy at the Office of the Attorney General.
Allyson Cox Taylor will serve as the director of the Office of Child Abuse. Taylor prosecuted cases for the Jefferson County Attorney’s Office Domestic Violence, Child Abuse and Neglect and Sexual Assault Unit.
Gretchen Hunt, who has advocated for the rights of victims of sexual assault, domestic violence and human trafficking for the past 15 years, will oversee the Office of Victims Advocacy.
Beshear says that the Family Branch, will center around protecting families.
“It’s going to focus on not only on working on the enforcement side, but also the prevention side, and then in many cases, the treatment and help that we can provide our victims.
Beshear acknowledges that many of the people that he has chosen previously served as members of his father’s administration —former governor Steve Beshear.
“I’ve chosen them for the same reason that he did,” Beshear said. “They’re experienced, they’re dedicated, they’re passionate, and they are going to get results.”
Beshear emphasized the importance for him to bring in leaders who have state government experience.
“Admittedly I am new to state government even if my last name is not,” Beshear said.
“I wanted to make sure that I brought in the most experienced leadership team that I could.”
Beshear said he will have a mission centered office.
“It has four tenants,” Beshear said. “Child abuse and exploitation, senior protection, ending the backlog of rape kits and prosecuting to find justice for those victims, and addressing our drug epidemic.”
Beshear was asked if his office would challenge legality issues, should Gov. Matt Bevin disband the Kynect Medicaid expansion system that his father created.
Beshear said that he would hope that Gov. Bevin would carefully study the data before taking any action.
“I will say that both Kynect and Medicaid exist in highly regulated fields that take a number of legal steps to make any changes,” Beshear said.
Rounding out Beshear’s staff, Holly McCoy Johnson will serve as head of administrative services. Johnson has served in state government for 20 years.
Susan Rieber, who recently served as chief of staff to former First Lady Jane Beshear, will serve as an assistant to the Attorney General.
Terry Sebastian will serve as communications director, while Crystal Pryor Staley will serve as deputy communications director.
Finally, Don Pasley will serve in the Initiatives Office.
Beshear will be sworn in as Kentucky’s 50th Attorney General Monday, January 4, 2016.
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