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Arizona public agencies in a mess after mass firings

The Department of Economic Security has been the scene of some bizarre and unsettling behavior by a civil servant, resulting in stern action by Arizona Governor Doug Ducey. After a shocking number of terminations by DES Director Tim Jeffries since January 2015, the Governor stepped in recently to officially strip Jeffries of his power to fire any employee, and went on to appoint a personnel monitor to ensure that the situation stabilizes.

The move comes after Jeffries went on what could be described as a firing bender over the last nearly two years. The Arizona Republic and azcentral.com deserve a hefty portion of the praise for shedding light on the situation, primarily with an exposé they produced detailing the plight of a person who had been fired while suffering from lupus and only a couple of months away from full retirement benefits.

To add infuriating insult to endangered livelihoods, reports indicate as many as half of the individuals who were terminated by Jeffries during the rash of firings had received performance reviews that were not only positive, but good enough to qualify them for performance-triggered bonuses.

It is still unclear exactly why so many DES employees were let go, but some are suggesting that the problem is more widespread, including many other state agencies. There is some evidence to suggest that the Governor's own mandate to state agencies to create "leaner" workforces has lead to many public employees unfairly losing their jobs.

Regardless of how it may all shake out for the agencies themselves, it is likely that the recent revelations will spawn a surge in unlawful termination suits, many of which will be well-deserved. If you believe you have been unfairly fired, there is no reason to take it sitting down. With the guidance of an experienced attorney who can advise you as to the strengths and weaknesses of your particular case, you can confidently explore your options for compensation as you pursue justice.

Source: The Arizona Republic, "Gov. Doug Ducey takes away DES director's power to fire employees," Craig Harris, Oct. 26, 2016

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