Embattled DES director not calling it quits

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

PHOENIX -- It’s not curtains for Clarence Carter, yet.

The embattled director of the Department of Economic Security told 3TV on Wednesday that he’s not stepping down despite increasing pressure from politicians and activists for him to resign. 

"I think there’s been quite enough hue and cry around the issue. It’s my job to do the work of administering this agency and unless and until someone relieves me of that responsibility that’s exactly what I’m going to do to the best of my ability," Mr. Carter said.

He’s been under heavy fire since Arizona’s Child Protective Services admitted to ignoring more than 6,000 cases of reported child abuse. Since that was revealed last week, state lawmakers, children’s advocacy groups and local activists have said it’s time for Mr. Carter to go.

Calls for him to quit are likely to increase following CPS's latest mistake, where potentially thousands of classified documents were found by an alley dumpster near the state fairgrounds in Phoenix.

The documents included social security numbers, pictures, and other sensitive information on CPS investigations. Carter said he’s launched an internal probe to find out how this happened.

"What we know is what you know, which was that there was a box of documents that was found next to a dumpster," Carter said outside his office Wednesday. "We have no idea how that happened; we are trying to figure that out."

Carter added: "That this is not in any way shape or form the way records are handled in this agency."

Still, it didn't take long for politicians to pounce. Wednesday afternoon, the top ranking Democrat in the state House, Rep. Chad Campbell, issued a scathing statement calling on Mr. Carter to resign his post or for Gov. Jan Brewer to fire him.

"This news underscores the need for new leadership in the Department of Economic Security," Campbell said. "We have seen children failed by Child Protective Services, time and time again. I have no confidence in DES Dir. Clarence Carter. I don’t believe he has the ability to appropriately address this newest issue, nor do I have faith that he can steer CPS through the crisis…"