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Arizona Department of Administration director quit over clashes with Doug Ducey aide

Posted at 9:32 AM, Feb 05, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-05 12:18:09-05

The director of the Arizona agency that serves as the human resources department for all 33,000 state workers quit his job last month because he was clashing with a new hire in Gov. Doug Ducey's office, according to emails obtained by a news outlet.

The Arizona Capitol Times reported last week that emails and a resignation letter show Craig Brown, director of the Arizona Department of Administration, had conflicts with Ducey's new chief operating officer, Gilbert Davidson, who started his job in November 2017.

The newspaper obtained the emails through a public records request.

Brown joined the department as director in September 2015 and resigned on Jan. 22. He had provided scant details for his departure.

 In his resignation letter, Brown wrote that Davidson told him he didn't have trust or confidence in Brown's ability to lead the agency.

"This from a man who has been with the state and my boss for 6 weeks. First hurt, then anger, but surely not agreement!" Brown wrote.

Davidson expected Brown to involve Davidson in all types of activities at the agency "from broken water pipes to hiring and terminations," Brown's resignation letter said.

Brown also said he the governor's policy advisers measure all business decisions from the perspective of how they will make the governor look.

Emails between Davidson and Brown back up Brown's claims about involvement on hirings, firings and water pipes, the Arizona Capital Times reported.

Davidson told Brown not to hire new people in higher-level positions without approval and asked about a broken pipe in emails, though the general tone of their emails remained mostly cordial.

Daniel Scarpinato, the governor's spokesman, said the Governor's Office conducts itself with awareness of the fact that the people elected Ducey, and he's ultimately accountable to them.

"It's different than I think maybe the private sector where you just immediately move forward with an idea," Scarpinato said.

He added that ideas need to be vetted and stakeholders, including other elected officials, are usually part of the governor's decision-making.