RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Two of the Virginia Parole Board members whose appointments were blocked by Senate Democrats earlier this year have found new jobs in Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s administration.
Carmen Williams and Cheryl Nici-O’Connell will serve as policy advisors, Williams in the Department of Juvenile Justice and Nici-O’Connell in the Department of Corrections. Their appointments were included in more than two dozen Youngkin’s office rolled out Friday afternoon.
Williams and Nici-O’Connell were among Youngkin’s initial picks for the Virginia Parole Board, the five-member panel that decides whether to grant parole to the limited pool of inmates who are eligible. But Democrats who control the state Senate rejected their appointment, along with two other members, in March as part of a partisan fight over appointments that went on for weeks during the General Assembly’s regular session.
Williams previously worked for the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance and has provided legal advocacy services for crime victims, according to a biography provided by Youngkin’s office.
Nici-O’Connell is a former Richmond police officer who was shot in the head while on duty in 1984 and has become an anti-violence advocate, Youngkin’s office said. Last year, she help lead an effort to halt the parole of the man convicted of shooting her and killing three others, and she was featured in a Youngkin campaign ad that criticized the parole board, which had been under scrutiny since it engaged in an accelerated and sometimes chaotic release of inmates at the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
Youngkin’s office also announced Friday that Dr. Colin Greene, who had been serving as acting health commissioner, would officially take over the role. Greene, a former Army physician, served as the director of a local Virginia health district before stepping into the commissioner spot.
Also among the announced appointees was Jackson Miller, a former longtime Republican member of the House of Delegates, who will serve as director of the Department of Criminal Justice Services. The agency conducts research on criminal justice issues, provides criminal justice training, sets minimum training standards for law enforcement and licenses the private security industry, among other tasks.