Acting AG Bruck announces leadership changes — including new role for Davenport

Bruck, who succeeds Grewal, affirms commitment to racial justice, good policing policy and ending gun violence

Andrew Bruck began his first day as acting attorney general with the announcement of his executive leadership team and a taped message to the Department of Law & Public Safety’s approximately 7,000 employees.

Bruck, who succeeds Gurbir Grewal, will serve as acting AG for the rest of Gov. Phil Murphy’s first term. He made the following personnel moves:

  • Jennifer Davenport, who currently serves as the attorney general’s principal law enforcement adviser, will also assume the title of first assistant attorney general. It is a position she previously held from 2018-20.
  • Christopher Edwards will continue in his role as executive assistant attorney general;
  • Jonathan Garelick will continue in his role as chief of staff;
  • Matthew Berns, who previously served as senior counsel to the attorney general, will be elevated to chief counsel to the acting attorney general;
  • Bryn Whittle, who currently serves as the director of community engagement, will also assume the titles of assistant attorney general and senior counsel to the acting attorney general.

All other members of Grewal’s executive team will remain in their current roles. However, four career employees of the Department of Law & Public Safety will join the leadership team:

  • Pearl Minato as senior counsel;
  • Adedayo Adu and Elspeth Hans as counsel;
  • John Zutic as special adviser on gun violence and prevention.

“I’ve spent the past three and a half years working with some of the most talented, dedicated and ethical people I’ve ever encountered, and I’m delighted that I’ll continue working alongside them as I move into this new role,” Bruck said in a release. “I’m proud of the diverse team we’ve assembled and remain immensely grateful to Gov. Murphy for the opportunity to serve the state in this way. I can’t wait to get to work.”

Bruck, in a taped social media message to the department, said he will detail more of his priorities “in the coming days and weeks,” though he did say he will make a commitment to racial justice, good policing policy and ending gun violence.

He also spoke of the three values he said drive him: integrity, decency and urgency.

“I ask that you always act with integrity — that you do the right things for the right reasons,” he said. “I ask that you treat everyone with basic decency, whether they are your colleagues or your adversaries. And I ask that you conduct your work with urgency, knowing that our society faces great challenges and that we have the power to address them. I ask that you live up to these values and I promise to do the same.”

Bruck directed the leadership of all 17 LPS divisions, offices and commissions to identify concrete, tangible steps they could take in the next six months to address racial disparities that were exposed and exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bruck became acting attorney general at midnight Saturday, when Grewal’s resignation became effective. He previously served as first assistant attorney general and executive assistant attorney general and has been part of the executive leadership team at the Attorney General’s Office since arriving with Grewal in January 2018.