Maine Attorney General Aaron Frey attends the inauguration of Gov. Janet Mills, on Jan. 4, 2023, at the Civic Center in Augusta, Maine. Frey has been in a relationship with a worker whom he supervised for months, according to a statement Tuesday, April 4, 2023, and said his delay in disclosing it was an “error in judgment.” Credit: Robert F. Bukaty / AP

AUGUSTA, Maine — Legislative leaders have retained a private firm to conduct an independent review of the attorney general’s handling of a relationship with someone he supervised, officials said Friday.

Maine Attorney General Aaron Frey, a Democrat, came under criticism for keeping the romantic relationship under wraps for about eight months. He said last week that his delay in disclosing the relationship with a subordinate was an “error in judgment.”

The review will be conducted by Deb Whitworth, owner HR Studio Group, who served on the Maine Human Rights Commission for 11 years and has four decades of experience in human resources, officials said. She will report to the executive director of the Maine Legislature on behalf of House Speaker Rachel Talbot Ross and Senate President Troy Jackson, both Democrats.

In his statement last week, Frey said the relationship that began last year did not violate “any legal rules, office policy or law,” and he said Deputy Attorney General Christopher Taub had concurred in his own review of the situation. Going forward, Taub will be the supervisor for Frey’s romantic partner, Frey said.

State workplace policy requires supervisors who become personally involved with a subordinate “to report the relationship to their supervisors so that a change in reporting structure can be considered.”

House Republican Leader Billy Bob Faulkingham called Frey’s conduct “concerning and disturbing.” Senate President Troy Jackson, a Democrat, said through a spokesperson that Frey’s actions “reflect poorly on him and the office he holds.”

Frey is a former lawmaker from Bangor who has served as attorney general since 2019. In Maine, the attorney general is selected by state lawmakers.