Maine Senate President Troy Jackson (D-Aroostook) and House Speaker Rachel Talbot Ross (D-Portland) have hired a well-known HR firm to investigate Attorney General Aaron Frey following his disclosure of an ongoing relationship with a subordinate employee.
The review will be conducted by Deb Whitworth of the HR Studio Group, according to an email shared with lawmakers.
“Whitworth has more than 40 years of experience in human resources and has served on the Maine Human Rights Commission for 11 years,” the email said. “She was first appointed to the Commission by Governor Paul LePage and was later reappointed by Governor Janet Mills.”
Frey disclosed April 5 that he had engaged in an 8-month relationship with a subordinate employee, actions he called an “error in judgement.”
Frey’s initial statement did not mention that he was, throughout that time, in a long-term relationship with his girlfriend of 12 years, a woman who was well-known to employees in the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) and top-ranking elected officials.
Frey’s partner in the relationship, Ariel Gannon, is the AGO’s Child Protection Division Chief.
She was married throughout most of the relationship but has recently filed for divorce.
Although Frey attempted to make it seem like he had always intended on disclosing the affair, media reports indicate that he only made his disclosure after Gannon’s family complained to the AGO and reporters.