DES director resigns as Gov. Ducey takes office

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX -- The director of the Department of Economic Security tendered his resignation to newly sworn-in Gov. Doug Ducey on Monday.

Clarence Carter said his resignation would be effective at the close of business Friday.

"My professional passion has always been to make the systems intended to serve socially and economically vulnerable people function more effectively," he wrote. "I have had the privilege and high honor of serving the residents of Arizona as DES Director for the past four years in pursuit of that passion. There remains much work to be done in this mission and I am moving on to my next chapter in that work."

While he did not talk about that next chapter, he wrote his hope is "to find a welcome partner in the Ducey Administration in the objective of re-inventing the American safety net."

He also said the Arizonans who rely on DES "would greatly benefit from a new vision to grow their capacity and reduce their dependency."

Former Gov. Jan. Brewer appointed Carter to lead the agency, already beset by budget cuts, in February 2011.

His tenure was not without controversy, especially in recent years.

In November 2013, Carter revealed that more than 6,500 child abuse reports were not investigated in cases dating back to 2008. As a result, Brewer launched a series of investigations.

Child Protective Services subsequently was dissolved and the Department of Child Safety created to take its place.

Before taking over DES in Arizona, Carter was the head of Washington, DC's Department of Human Services.

Ducey spokesman Daniel Scarpinato said Monday an interim replacement will be named soon.

DES runs more than 40 "safety net" programs that serve more than 1.6 million Arizona residents.