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Carney quickly appoints Greenhouse as interim auditor

Katie Tabeling

Delaware Legislative Hall. | DBT PHOTO BY JACOB OWENS

WILMINGTON — Eighteen hours after Gov. John Carney accepted the resignation of former Auditor Kathy McGuiness, he has appointed Dennis Greenhouse to serve as auditor until a successor is elected and sworn into office.

Greenhouse has a long resume of public service, including serving as auditor in 1982, and later New Castle County executive, as well as assistant associate director of the Bureau of State and Local Affairs at the White House National Drug Control Policy.

“We’re grateful that Dennis is willing to serve the state of Delaware as the auditor of accounts, an office that he previously held,” Carney said in a prepared statement. “As auditor, he will be tasked with completing the annual comprehensive financial report over the next several months. Because of his experience, I’m confident that Dennis is the right person for the job and can hit the ground running.”

Greenhouse started his career in banking, eventually working for the former Home Federal Savings and Loan Association for eight years as an assistant vice president until he was elected auditor in 1983. After six years in that post, he served as New Castle County executive until 1997.

Carney told reporters Thursday morning that he knew there would be “a possibility” of having a vacancy to fill with McGuiness’s sentencing this week, and that this time was a critical moment for the State Auditor’s Office.

“The office audits the books for the executive branch, so we’re mindful of that. Frankly, a lot of things weren’t getting done,” the governor said. “We’re very focused on bringing somebody in with the experience and knowledge of what it takes to close out those books by Dec. 31.”

Greenhouse’s appointment comes the day after McGuiness was sentenced to one year of supervised probation and ordered to pay a $10,000 fine. She was also ordered to complete 500 hours of community service. 

Democratic leadership in the Senate urged the governor to remove McGuiness in July, but Carney decided against it and waited until sentencing to ask for her immediate removal.

“Dennis is the former auditor and knows all [the challenges and deadlines with financial reports]. The biggest challenge is going in there to sort out friction with employees,” the governor said on Thursday. “He’s very good at that – and he’s not a threat to anybody running for office. I know him well, and he understands that we need to close out the year and get the work done.”

After he left the New Castle County executive office, Greenhouse was named assistant associate director of the Bureau of State and Local Affairs at the White House National Drug Control Policy. There, he worked with law enforcement agencies and elected officials on many levels on prevention and education efforts as well as information on drug enforcement policies.

In the 2000s, Greenhouse transitioned to the U.S. Department of Justice and served in many roles such as deputy director of Community Oriented Policing Service; deputy director of the Office of Victims of Crimes; and director of the Community Capacity Development Office. 

In 2013, Greenhouse launched his own consulting firm — Dennis E. Greenhouse Consulting LLC — that operates out of Washington, D.C. He consults with state and local governments as well as private and tribal entities to develop programs for neighborhood stabilization, crime prevention, and community development.

In October 2021, McGuiness was indicted on two felony charges and several misdemeanor charges alleging that she paid her daughter and her daughter’s friend nearly $30,000 from the state for jobs they did not work. It was also alleged that she orchestrated no-bid contracts to campaign consultants, intimidated employees, among other charges.

She was ultimately convicted of two misdemeanors: conflict of interest, structuring, and official misconduct.

Throughout the 10 months between her indictment and the trial, McGuiness refused to resign and ran for re-election. She was defeated in the Democratic primary election by Lydia York last month. 

Ultimately, McGuiness offered her resignation, effective Nov. 4, during her sentencing hearing. Carney declined to wait another two weeks, and accepted her resignation close to the end of business day Wednesday.

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