CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- When attorney general-elect Patrick Morrisey takes office next week, he will take a Charleston city councilman, a former attorney general candidate, a former U.S. Supreme Court clerk and the executive director of a lawsuit abuse group with him.
There also could be a few black bears tagging along.
Morrisey announced upcoming changes to the Attorney General's Office during a press conference Wednesday afternoon in the state Capitol Rotunda.
He will hire Dan Greear as chief counsel, Elbert Lin as solicitor general, and Marty Wright as public integrity officer. Wright also will serve as deputy attorney general, along with Richie Heath and Tracy Webb. Morrisey will hire Chris Dodrill, Jennifer Greenlief and Shane Wilson as assistant attorneys general.
Greear ran for attorney general in 2008 and almost defeated McGraw, losing by only about 3,000 votes. He ran for Kanawha circuit judge in 2010 but lost to Carrie Webster by just 524 votes. Greear represented Kanawha County's 30th House of Delegates district in 1995 and 1996.
As chief counsel, Morrisey said Greear would handle internal matters of the Attorney General's Office, but also would oversee the office's new public integrity officer. Wright currently works as deputy general counsel of the West Virginia Ethics Commission. As public integrity officer, Morrisey said he would work on "ethics-related changes" in the state, including cracking down on state-purchased "trinkets" featuring officeholders' names and a revamped approach to hiring outside counsel.
During his campaign for attorney general Morrisey repeatedly called for a ban on all state office advertisements in the six months leading up to an election.
He also wants to create a bidding process for hiring outside counsel. Morrisey criticized Mc-Graw for hiring friends and campaign supporters as contracting attorneys.
Morrisey said Wright also would partner with county prosecutors on corruption cases, if counties request the attorney general's assistance.
Elbert Lin will serve as the state's solicitor general, handling the appellate functions of the Attorney General's Office, including both criminal appeals and federal lawsuits.
If the state again sues the federal Environmental Protection Agency, for instance, Lin would be in charge of that case. West Virginia currently does not have a solicitor general, but Morrisey said other states have used them to great effect.
Lin, who currently works as a lawyer in Washington, D.C., previously served as clerk for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and worked as a trial attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice. A graduate of Yale Law School, he also served as managing editor of the "Yale Law Journal."
"We believe Elbert's background is second to none," Morrisey said at the press conference. "He will serve the citizens of West Virginia with distinction."
Richie Heath currently serves as executive director of West Virginia Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse. The group is a longtime opponent of outgoing Attorney General Darrell McGraw, and supported Morrisey's campaign.
Tracy Webb previously worked as an attorney for the West Virginia Housing Development Fund and as a clerk for the state's Workers' Compensation Appeal Board.
Chris Dodrill, an at-large Charleston city councilman and chairman of the Charleston Land Trust, is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and Duke University's law school and currently works at the Charleston law firm of Thomas, Combs and Spann.