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Ducey suspends firings at Department of Economic Security

Department of Economic Security director Tim Jeffries stands outside his office, adorned with a "Director J :)" sign. (Photo by Rachel Leingang, Arizona Capitol Times)

Department of Economic Security director Tim Jeffries stands outside his office, adorned with a “Director J :)” sign. (Photo by Rachel Leingang, Arizona Capitol Times)

Gov. Doug Ducey has suspended the head of the Department of Economic Security’s ability to terminate agency employees and installed a personnel monitor in the wake of a large number of dismissals.

DES Director Tim Jeffries said Tuesday that it was his idea to give the Arizona Department of Administration final say over firings at the agency, The Arizona Republic reported (http://bit.ly/2eaLtxu). The Governor’s Office said that was not the case, and that firing power was taken from Jeffries and his management team.

Daniel Scarpinato, Ducey’s spokesman, said the governor will install state Deputy Human Resources Director Nancy Gomez at DES.

“She will not only review the firings, she will be approving them,” Scarpinato said.

Scarpinato said no other agency directors have lost the power to fire employees, but the governor may install additional safeguards at other agencies.

The move comes a week after The Republic reported that DES had dismissed a record 475 workers from Jan. 1, 2015, through September. The newspaper also reported that one fired DES employee was dismissed without cause just months before qualifying for full state retirement.

Jeffries said his agency’s services have not been hindered, and that most of the fired employees have been replaced. He said the total workforce at DES was only 19 positions smaller than when he started last year.

Ducey had instructed Jeffries and other agency heads to reduce unneeded staff and make the state’s workforce leaner and more efficient. Since Ducey took office in January 2015, more than 1,500 state employees have been involuntarily terminated. 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2 comments

  1. Imagine having as head of a state’s labor department a guy who initiates an age-discriminatory firing policy. Meet Tim “Cold Heart, Forked Tongue” Jeffries. Nice job, Jeff. BTW, is Jeffries over 40? Or better, over 50? Time flies, Jeff….

  2. The question is have the dismissed employees received all the protections given them by the state and federal government. Were the dismissals due to age, high salaries, time in position, poor performance or were their positions eliminated with no replacements. Arizona is an employment at will state, but there are federal laws protecting those of age that should be carefully looked at. If these positions were replaced, is this in violation of the Governor’s orders to eliminate unnecessary positions? State employees are you able to unionize to protect your jobs from this Governor’s administrators? If indeed this Governor is committed to reducing waste, then I would propose that whatever savings to revenue are realized that the Governor provide state funding to community colleges and begin building the workforce of the future. He cannot have it all ways!

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