Romero Out as Health Chief 

Commissioner chosen by McDonnell not reappointed.

click to enlarge Romero
  • Romero

Newly elected Gov. Terry McAuliffe has chosen to not reappoint the state health commissioner who made headlines last year after it was discovered she was not only then- Gov. Bob McDonnell's handpicked employee, but also his tenant.

The disclosure that Commissioner Cynthia Romero was renting the McDonnell family's $835,000 Henrico home came amid mounting controversy over McDonnell's business dealings and personal judgment. He and former first lady Maureen McDonnell were indicted Tuesday on 14 counts of illegally accepting at least $165,000 in gifts and loans from former Star Scientific chief executive Jonnie Williams Sr. Federal prosecutors say that in exchange, the McDonnells promoted Star Scientific's dietary supplement, Anatabloc.

McDonnell called the federal case a governmental overreach, saying that neither he nor his wife committed any crimes. The McDonnells are scheduled to appear in court Friday.

Romero sent an email to health department employees the morning after the indictments were announced, saying that her last day would be Jan. 31. The email notes that Chief Deputy Commissioner Dr. Marissa Levine would serve as interim commissioner.

"Although I am disappointed at not being reappointed," Romero says in a statement, "I recognize that my appointment was officially for the remainder of the prior Governor's term."

McDonnell chose Romero, a family practice doctor, last January to replace Dr. Karen Remley, who resigned following the passage of abortion clinic regulations in 2012.

An earlier version of this story stated that Romero resigned.

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