Without a press release, or even adding her to the staff list on its website, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention hired Shanetta Cutlar to serve as chief of staff to Administrator Robert Listenbee.
The chief of staff position was listed as a new position at OJJDP when the agency’s reorganization was unveiled last summer, and Cutlar is the first to occupy the position. The Chronicle of Social Change became aware of Cutlar’s presence at OJJDP through the attendance list for a December meeting of the Federal Advisory Committee on Juvenile Justice.
Cutlar served as the section chief for special litigation in the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division from 2003 until 2010. Her time at the Civil Rights Division coincided with an investigation into allegations of politicized hiring decisions during the presidency of George W. Bush.
She stepped down as section chief in March of 2010. According to a report from a legal blog called “Above the Law,” Cutlar informed staff that she had lost the confidence of Attorney General Eric Holder and Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Thomas Perez.
Since then, Cutlar has served as a senior advisor to the director of Bureau of Justice Assistance, a title held since 2011 by Clinton-era federal prosecutor Denise O’Donnell.
The OJJDP organizational chart suggests that Cutlar answers to the agency’s principal deputy administrator.
John Kelly is editor-in-chief of The Chronicle of Social Change