Just one day after assuming his new duties, Attorney General Matt Denn has announced the establishment of a new office within the Department of Justice.
According to Denn, the Office of Civil Rights and Public Trust will be a place where the public can bring fourth issues such as equal accommodations and employment discrimination, as well as issues involving Delawareans with disabilities and the educational rights of children.
“These are all areas where the office has some statutory oversight responsibility and we want to have a person in the office whose dedicated to enforcing those statues just as we have people dedicated to enforcing other laws,” Denn said.
Former state solicitor Allison Reardon has been tapped to serve as the head of the newly established office.
The office will also be responsible for handling investigations that could pose a conflict of interest.
“We sometimes have attorneys who are on both sides of the issue where we have attorneys who are representing state agencies but also then find themselves having to help with investigations of certain parts of what state agencies do,” Denn explained. “We want to separate those roles out so that we don’t have attorneys who one day are representing someone and the next having to do an investigation.”
One example would be investigations that involve the abuse, neglect or death of a child.
“When something happens to a child, when there’s a child death or serious injury, there’s a review process that takes place. In the past, the same division that gives the legal advice was also the division that took part in the investigation. So now one immediate change will be that now this office will take part in the investigation so you don’t have deputy attorney generals giving legal advice to an agency and then the next day, being part of an investigation where the office involved in providing advice.”
The office will also work closely with the elections commissioner, public integrity commission, and state auditor.