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New Utah attorney general shakes up leadership team

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SALT LAKE CITY — Newly appointed Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes shook up the top leadership in his office as part of an effort to change its culture and restore public trust.

Reyes appointed former Utah National Guard Adjutant General Brian Tarbet as chief civil deputy. Tarbet served as acting attorney general after John Swallow resigned last month. Swallow's 11 months in office were plagued by allegations of wrongdoing that remain under investigation.

Spencer Austin will join the office as the chief criminal deputy. Austin most recently worked in private practice with Parsons Behle & Latimer and has been a deputy county attorney.

Austin replaces Kirk Torgensen, who will stay with the office in a position that hasn't been finalized, according to attorney general's office spokesman Ryan Bruckman.

Parker Douglas was named as chief of staff/general counsel. Douglas has worked as a federal public defender and with law firms in Salt Lake City and Washington, D.C. He represented Elizabeth Smart kidnapper Brian David Mitchell.

Reyes also elevated solicitor general Bridget Romano to his leadership team. Romano has worked in that position and as chief of the civil appeals division since July 2011.

Missy Larsen joined the office as chief of communications, replacing Paul Murphy. Larsen has been a public relations professional for more than 20 years.

Bruckman said no one was fired as a result of the changes. All division chiefs were asked to resign and reapply, and many are likely to return to their leadership roles, he said.

Reyes took office Dec. 30.

Email: romboy@deseretnews.com

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