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Bernstein names former state budget chief to post

On his first day in office, Baltimore City State’s Attorney Gregg Bernstein named the final member of his leadership team: former Secretary of the Maryland Department of Budget and Management Cecilia Januszkiewicz will be his executive assistant state’s attorney for administration.

Januszkiewicz, Bernstein’s colleague in private practice and an assistant attorney general for 15 years before joining former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.’s administration in 2005, joins Chief Assistant State’s Attorney George Hazel and Executive Assistant State’s Attorney for Policy and Planning Elizabeth Embry as the new top prosecutor’s deputy. Hazel and Embry were named almost a month ago, but their exact titles weren’t revealed until Monday.

“My leadership team shares my vision to improve the effectiveness of the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office, and has the background and experience necessary to restructure the Office in a way that increases efficiency and success in the prosecution and conviction of violent offenders, as well as improve training, technology and cooperation with law enforcement,” Bernstein said in a statement.

Bernstein, who edged out longtime incumbent Patricia C. Jessamy in September’s Democratic primary election, could not be reached for further comment. His official swearing-in was Monday morning, and a ceremonial swearing-in is scheduled for Tuesday afternoon.

Januszkiewicz, who was most recently a senior fellow at The Free State Foundation, will be responsible for all administrative functions of the office, including human resources, budget and finance, according to Monday’s release.

She will also bring more experience to Bernstein’s leadership group. Januszkiewicz, who graduated from college in 1971 and Notre Dame Law School in 1974, appears to be older than the 55-year-old Bernstein, whereas Hazel and Embry are at least a decade younger than their new boss.

“I am excited about joining Mr. Bernstein’s leadership team,” Januszkiewicz wrote in an e-mail Monday afternoon. “It is an honor to work with such talented and dedicated people.”

According to biographies on their websites, Januszkiewicz was a principal at the now-defunct firm of Melnicove, Kaufman, Weiner, Smouse & Garbis in the mid-1980s when Bernstein was an associate there. She was also once a member of The Daily Record’s Editorial Advisory Board.

Hazel was a federal prosecutor in Washington, D.C., Baltimore and Prince George’s County. Bernstein first met Hazel when he was defending a case as a private attorney at the law firm of Zuckerman Spaeder LLP and Hazel was an assistant U.S. attorney in Baltimore.

“I was really impressed by the way he handled the case, his demeanor and his perspective,” Bernstein said last month. “So then when I was thinking about who I might have as part of the leadership team, I wanted somebody with good experience as a trial lawyer as well as prosecuting these repeat violent offenders.”

Hazel primarily will be responsible for supervising the office’s criminal prosecution divisions, such as homicide, felonies and narcotics, according to Monday’s release.

Embry, a Baltimore native Jessamy hired out of law school, most recently stood in for Sheryl Goldstein, Bernstein’s wife, as acting director of the Mayor’s Office on Criminal Justice during last summer’s campaign.

“She just has a real presence,” Bernstein said last month. “She’s definitely an idea person, a systems person.”

He said Embry will concentrate on issues like “how do we improve our charging decisions in Central Booking [and] how do we think of ways to handle the overwhelming docket in district court?”

Asked about his younger deputies at the time, Bernstein said age was not a factor in his hiring decisions.

“I didn’t really look at age, I was looking at talent,” he said. “I was looking at people who were enthusiastic who were committed, who had good ideas, who wanted to try to come into this office … where there’s been a certain bureaucratic malaise for a time, and try to make real change.”

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