ABOVE: Upper left, Sangeeta Darji; Upper right: Tom McKenna; Bottom: John Childrey
Chesterfield County’s new commonwealth’s attorney, Scott Miles, was sworn in to the position Tuesday, Nov. 13.
Miles, a Democrat, upset Republican John Childrey for the seat created when longtime commonwealth’s attorney Billy Davenport retired July 1.
Miles, who won by 2,731 votes, or 1.9 percentage points, named Sangeeta Darji his chief deputy.
An alumna of Chesterfield County Public Schools, Darji graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University with a bachelor of science degree in 1997 and earned a law degree from the University of Pittsburgh. She previously worked for the Richmond commonwealth attorney’s office, and joined the Chesterfield commonwealth attorney’s office in 2007.
Miles also fired a number of attorneys in the office, although he said the ones who were let go were in supervisory roles.
Childrey was among those fired. He was most recently the chief deputy in Chesterfield under interim commonwealth’s attorney Kenneth E. Nickels.
Childrey, who had 20 years of experience with the office, announced on Facebook last week that he was fired Nov. 13, as did Tom McKenna, who said he worked with the Chesterfield office for 17-plus years. Both said they were fired by email.
McKenna’s LinkedIn page says he was a special counsel to the Central Virginia Multi-jurisdictional Grand Jury and State Police Narcotics Task Force; ran an investigative grand jury and advised a team of detectives developing historical drug dealing and other prosecutions in a six-jurisdiction territory.
When asked about the firings, Miles said McKenna retired.
“I am assembling a leadership team that will help me to deliver on the promises I have made to improve this office’s service to the community,” Miles said in an email. “Bringing in new leaders means that many of the people currently in senior positions will have to vacate those positions. This isn’t a new phenomenon; it happened when Shannon Taylor took office in Henrico [in 2012], when Mike Herring took office in Richmond [in 2006], and is an expected result of a [commonwealth attorney’s] election.”
“During the campaign, I let it be known that I would be offering positions in my administration to every member of the support staff and all of the [assistant commonwealth’s attorneys] currently serving in that office,” Miles said. “Those two categories of people include  of the  employees there. I’m able and inclined to retain these dedicated public servants so that the important work of this office will continue without significant disruption as I adopt new policies and procedures. That commitment was also in recognition of the fact that those aren’t supervisory positions.”
As for the seven deputy commonwealth’s attorneys who are in supervisory roles: “In order to successfully implement the changes I have committed to making, I need to replace most, though not all, of them with talented professionals who share my vision for this part of our government,” Miles said.
During the campaign, Miles emphasized the need to abandon what he called the county’s “war on drugs,” to reform the cash bail system, and begin tearing down what he called a “school-to-prison pipeline.”