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Mary Beth Bonaventura

Mary Beth Bonaventura

INDIANAPOLIS — Former Lake County Judge Mary Beth Bonaventura was named chief of staff Wednesday for Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill Jr.

In her new role, Bonaventura will run the law firm that essentially is the attorney general's office, including managing its 334 employees and nearly $30 million annual budget.

Hill, a Republican, said in a written statement that he selected Bonaventura for the post because she has "an impressive breadth of leadership experience."

"She is uniquely qualified to oversee the multiple functions of our office as we continue to work hard every day serving the people of Indiana," Hill said.

Bonaventura spent 31 years on the Lake County bench, including two decades as Juvenile Court judge, before being appointed in 2013 by Republican Gov. Mike Pence to lead the Indiana Department of Child Services.

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She quit as DCS director in December 2017 with a fiery resignation letter that accused Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb of starving the child protection agency's resources to an extent that "all but ensures children will die."

The attorney general, who repeatedly has clashed with the governor over both political and personal matters, promptly hired Bonaventura as his special counsel.

Bonaventura now succeeds Joan Blackwell as the attorney general's chief of staff.

Blackwell will serve as the office's general counsel.

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