By Daniel Stefanski |
A powerful Senate Committee Chairman is encouraging Arizona’s Democrat Governor to show some urgency when it comes to re-nominating an individual to lead the Department of Child Safety (DCS), and he may have a solution as her office considers its next move in the matter.
On Thursday, Senator Jake Hoffman, Chairman of the Committee on Director Nominations, sent a letter to Governor Katie Hobbs, transmitting a letter his panel had received “from a coalition of frontline child welfare advocates and providers ‘respectfully requesting consideration for the reinstatement of former DCS Director Mike Faust.’” Senator Hoffman echoed “the pleadings of these dedicated child welfare professionals” in his own letter to the governor.
The letter that the Committee on Director Nominations had received was from a group of 21 individuals, representing licensed Group Home providers, bringing “well over 200 years of child welfare experience in Arizona.” The coalition wrote that “we share a mutual and tremendous respect for the past performance of former Director Faust and appreciate his rigor in holding all our agencies accountable when needed.” They praised Faust’s character, stating, “He is a man of his word and his transparency allowed for effective planning. Although his decisions were not always universally embraced, he could be trusted and he is a man of high moral character and integrity.”
It appears the Governor’s Office received the letter as well.
The coalition requested that the governor consider reinstating Faust to his past position of DCS Director.
Hoffman wrote in his accompanying letter to the governor that he believed “the coalition’s request to be a wise and prudent course of action” for Arizona. He also revealed that he had recently touched base with Faust “about his willingness to serve in this important role once again,” and that the former DCS Director “would be willing to discuss with (Hobbs) the possibility of his returning to lead the agency.”
The Director Nominations Chairman promised a “swift confirmation process should Mr. Faust be nominated to return in his role as the agency’s Director.”
All sides have admitted the importance of this agency and installing a competent individual who will do the work required on behalf of Arizona’s most vulnerable children. After Hobbs’ initial appointee, Matthew Stewart, was forced out of the nomination process by her office, she stated that DCS “has a critical mission protecting Arizona’s most vulnerable population, our children.” Chairman Hoffman wrote in his letter that “there are few executive agencies in Arizona as important as the Department of Child Safety.” And the coalition writing to Governor Hobbs asserted that “leading an agency of nearly 3,000 employees charged to protect and serve over 10,000 children is a daunting task that requires a unique and dedicated leader.”
The ball is now in the Governor’s Office when it comes to taking action on a vacant nomination for DCS Director as vulnerable Arizona children await direction and leadership from the state agency tasked with protecting their interests.
Hoffman’s committee, which was commissioned by Senate President Warren Petersen, has so far held two meetings to consider four of Governor Hobbs’ nominees for key positions in state agencies. The Committee on Director Nominations voted to recommend two of the individuals it has vetted, voted against recommending another, and held the fourth for future considerations. Governor Hobbs has been slow to transmit her nominations to the Arizona Senate for consent as is her constitutional obligation. The failed nomination last month of Matthew Stewart for DCS Director occurred independently of the committee process.
Daniel Stefanski is a reporter for AZ Free News. You can send him news tips using this link.