Faust only per­son in­ter­viewed by Ducey for top DCS job, records show

The Arizona Republic - - Front Page - Mary Jo Pitzl

When the top job opened up at the state’s child-wel­fare agency, Gov. Doug Ducey looked to only one man to fill the spot.

Mike Faust, the agency’s deputy direc­tor of sup­port ser­vices, was the only per­son in­ter­viewed to be Ari­zona’s next direc­tor of the Ari­zona De­part­ment of Child Safety.

Ducey an­nounced Faust’s ap­point­ment last Tues­day. Faust will suc­ceed Greg McKay, who an­nounced last month that he would leave the agency af­ter four years to take an ex­ec­u­tive post at Child­help USA.

“Mike Faust was clearly the right per­son for this job, and there was no rea­son to look any fur­ther,” Ducey spokesman Pa­trick Ptak wrote in a state­ment. It came in re­sponse to The

Ari­zona Repub­lic’s pub­lic-records re­quest for the re­sumes of the fi­nal­ists who in­ter­viewed for the DCS job.

The Gover­nor’s Of­fice pro­duced Faust’s re­sume, in­di­cat­ing he was the only can­di­date who in­ter­viewed. He will be paid $200,000 an­nu­ally when he takes over Sept. 1.

“He (Faust) im­me­di­ately ex­pressed in­ter­est in the po­si­tion, and both our team and the gover­nor were blown away by his vi­sion for the agency, com­mit­ment to pro­tect­ing chil­dren and un­der­stand­ing of how to get the job done,” Ptak wrote.

Faust’s fa­mil­iar­ity with the agency, as well as his lead­er­ship role in sev­eral crit­i­cal ini­tia­tives, made him the log­i­cal choice, Ptak said. He added Faust was rec­om­mended by ad­vo­cates who work with child­wel­fare is­sues.

One of those ad­vo­cates was the or­ga­ni­za­tion that rep­re­sents var­i­ous so­cial-ser­vice agen­cies. The Ari­zona Coun­cil of Hu­man Ser­vice Providers urged Ducey to ap­point Faust.

“We felt it would be bet­ter to build sta­bil­ity rather than bring in some­one new,” said Emily Jenkins, the coun­cil’s president and CEO.

DCS is in the midst of work­ing to meet the man­dates of the fed­eral Fam­ily First Pre­ven­tion Ser­vices Act, which among other things aims to elim­i­nate group-home place­ments and re­duce the foster-care ranks. DCS also is in the midst of a tran­si­tion of med­i­cal, den­tal and be­hav­ioral-health ser­vices for foster chil­dren from the state’s Med­i­caid agency into its pro­grams. Faust is over­see­ing both ef­forts.

“I don’t think there are six to eight months to lose in this process,” Jenkins said of the break-in time a new­comer to the job might need. “The tim­ing is crit­i­cal.”

Faust has been the agency’s deputy direc­tor since De­cem­ber 2016. He started work­ing at DCS in 2015 as part of the state’s Gov­ern­ment Trans­for­ma­tion Of­fice, which aims to stream­line gov­ern­ment oper­a­tions.

Prior to state ser­vice, Faust worked in the aerospace in­dus­try in var­i­ous man­age­ment and op­er­a­tional roles.

Mike Faust will re­ceive an an­nual salary of about $200,000 when he takes over the De­part­ment of Child Safety next month.

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