After conceding her crack crew had failed to do “adequate vetting,” Governor Katie Hobbs has demanded the resignation of Matthew Stewart, who she had earlier nominated to head up the Department of Child Services.
Making everything even more awkward is that as a result, the man Hobbs recently fired as Director of the Department of Economic Security, Michael Wisehart, will now be asked to lead the Department of Child Services (DCS).
Hobbs pulled Stewart’s nomination after Senate Republicans found his troubling history, which included being reprimanded for “insubordination and unauthorized absence” when he was a DCS training operations supervisor in 2020. At the time, Stewart resigned from his position immediately before an intended suspension could be issued to him.
According to Senate Republicans, Stewart, who was hailed by Hobbs as a “leader who will ensure that we can continue to transform our public systems,” made “questionable” moves on consulting contracts and also fired non-appointed openly gay employees of DCS.
Chairman of the Senate Committee on Director Nominations, Sen. Jake Hoffman, was quick to respond to the news of Hobbs’ decision on Stewart.
“Over the past several weeks, members of the Senate Committee on Director Nominations have set the tone on how to properly examine nominees for critical Director positions within state agencies,” said Hoffman. “We’re now learning that Katie Hobbs’ newly appointed Director for the Arizona Department of Child Safety (DCS) has been asked to provide a resignation letter by this Friday.”
“It’s disgraceful that Katie Hobbs either did not conduct a thorough review of Mr. Stewart prior to offering him the position as DCS Director, or she thought she could sweep his history under the rug. This agency is tasked with protecting vulnerable children,” continued Hoffman.
“While Katie Hobbs openly touted skin-color as her seemingly only priority in the search for the next potential DCS Director, it might have also been a good idea to look at experience and qualifications too. This unfortunate series of events proves precisely why the Senate Confirmation process is so vitally important for the people of Arizona. The Senate’s confirmation hearings exist to ensure Director nominees are qualified for the job, and that they will faithfully execute the laws of the state of Arizona,” concluded Hoffman.
“Sadly, it seems clear that Hobbs’ is not conducting her own vetting process, so my colleagues and I will continue to serve as the necessary and constitutional check and balance on the Executive Branch that the citizens of our great state need and deserve.”