New director appointed for embattled state agency

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Michael Trailor. (Source: LinkedIn) Michael Trailor. (Source: LinkedIn)
Michael Trailor. (Source: LinkedIn) Michael Trailor. (Source: LinkedIn)
Former Department of Economic Security Director Tim Jeffries (Source: Arizona Department of Economic Security) Former Department of Economic Security Director Tim Jeffries (Source: Arizona Department of Economic Security)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

Gov. Doug Ducey has chosen a new head of the embattled Department of Economic Security and his name is Michael Trailor.

He made the announcement on Wednesday. Trailor, who has served as director of the Arizona Department of Housing since 2010, takes over for interim director Henry Darwin.

DES has faced a series of controversies including a clerk reportedly hiding unemployment denials, mass firings, questionable emails and a former director accused of hosting a party with alcohol for workers who gave up civil service protections.

Earlier this month, a state official said a lone clerk hid about 300 unemployment denial appeals requests during a three-year period to avoid work rather than filing them with the Arizona Court of Appeals.

[READ MORE: Agency: Lone clerk sat on hundreds of unemployment appeals]

Darwin was the interim director because Tim Jeffries was fired last November. There was a report that he taken a state plane to Nogales in April of 2016 and hosted a party with alcohol for employees there who had given up employment protections. It reportedly happened during normal business hours even though Jeffries said it happened after hours.

[RELATED: Gov. Ducey fires DES director amid scandals (Nov. 21, 2016)]

Jeffries was also criticized for firing about 500 workers since he took office in February 2015. About half of them had top performance reviews.

In response to the avalanche of firings, Ducey stripped Jeffries of his power to terminate employees. The Ducey administration also set up a hotline for fired DES workers who wanted to attempt to get their jobs back.

Last June, Jeffries was accused of violating the Constitution by sending out emails to DES staff about his trip to a Catholic shrine in France and asking that they send their "special intentions" for him to take to the religious site. However, he was cleared of any wrongdoing in August, as Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich said he hadn't violated any rules.

As for Trailor, he was appointed to director of the Arizona Department of Housing by then-Gov. Jan Brewer in 2009 and had been there ever since. Before that, he was a principal and an urban development specialist at Scottsdale-based Vanguard CityHome, a real-estate investment firm.

"Michael is a consummate professional, with experience running a government agency also charged with helping Arizona citizens in need," said Ducey in a statement. 

DES is the state's largest agency and employs over 7,000 people.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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