Kathy Jennings, chief administrative officer for New Castle County, has resigned her post to run for attorney general.
“I expect, in the weeks ahead, to formally announce that I am running for attorney general, because there is a lot of important work to be done: reducing gun violence, combatting the opioid crisis, eliminating racial inequality in our justice system and protecting the rights of our residents from consumer fraud and civil rights abuses,” Jennings said in a statement issued today.
Attorney General Matt Denn announced he would not be running in August, but attorneys Thomas Neuberger and Timothy Mullaney have announced their plans to run.
Jennings, a Delaware native, was among the first women in the Delaware Department of Justice’s criminal division. She successfully prosecuted serial killer Steven Pennell in 1988 in the first case where DNA analysis was admitted into evidence.
As state prosecutor beginning in 2011, Jennings formed the Crime Strategies Unit to work in high-crime areas and worked to reform the bail system and habitual offender laws.
She was appointed chief administrative officer for County Executive Matthew Meyer last January.
“Kathy has been an exceptional leader and trusted partner as our county government has become more honest, transparent and efficient,” Meyer said. “The deep knowledge, experience and integrity that Kathy brings to her work, along with her curiosity and empathy, have focused our government on peoples’ needs and improving our communities. I am sorry to lose such an effective and knowledgeable leader, and I look forward to Kathy’swork strengthening our communities in the years to come.”
Meyer named Vanessa Phillips, the county’s human resources chief, to serve as acting chief administrative officer will a search is conducted.
Phillips, a former Washington, D.C. prosecutor, came to county government after serving more than a year as director of administration for the Delaware Department of Labor. Before that, she served in management positions for three years at the Delaware Department of Transportation.