Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden continued to stay out of the public eye on Friday when he didn’t show up for a scheduled budget hearing in Dover.
Instead, Chief of Staff Tim Mullaney led the meeting where he explained that Biden had a prior commitment to the National Guard.
Although Biden announced plans to run for governor in 2016, he has kept a low profile in Delaware for the past year.
He had medical procedure in August 2013 and has been rarely seen ever since. Mullaney said Biden is “doing well” health wise and said the attorney general is focused on finishing up his term and is not ready to field questions about the governor’s seat.
“Part of the problem is that he’s not having speaking engagements because he doesn’t want people to start talking about the governorship or things that are down the road because he’s focusing on the Department of Justice and getting things to run smoothly for the transition to Matt Denn,” Mullaney explained.
Attorney General-elect Matt Denn will be officially sworn into office in January. In the meantime, Mullaney said the AG’s office is facilitating the transition.
“We’ve given him a massive amount of reading, he was well aware of what we’re presenting in the budget proposal,” Mullaney said. “I suspect that he’s going to have his own viewpoints on where he might want to tweak it.”
Crime Increases AG’s Budget
The Attorney General’s office is asking for a 5.1 percent increase over the fiscal year 2015 budget. Mullaney said the increases are mostly for additional personnel.
“Crime is increasing and we’re delivering our services a little bit more,” he said. “Police officers and police departments are doing a better jobs of investigations so we’re having more people brought before us who are under arrest. So with that comes that fact that we need more prosecutors, more investigators, and more administrators.”
The additions include $571,000 to convert seasonal positions such as prosecutors, social workers and paralegals to full-time positions.
Deputy Attorney General Kathleen Jennings also outlined increases for additional positions within the Child Victims Unit.
The unit, which was formed last year, investigates children who died by homicide or are near death.
“We have a very high volume that we’re dealing with and so as we sit here today, we have dedicated two prosecutors to that unit statewide,” she said.
Jennings said they’d like $212,000 to hire an additional deputy attorney general as well as a nurse and a paralegal.
Due to the complexity of the cases, Jennings said they need someone who can study medical records and look for patterns of child abuse.
“We’re looking at complex medial legal issues,” she said. “Luckily our prosecutors have that background but they’re not doctors and they’re not nurses so we critically need a nurse to sift through the volume of medical records that exist.”
Budget hearings will continue in Dover next week.