Arizona social-service agency's interim head to leave June 3
PHOENIX (AP) — The interim director of Arizona's social-services agency will step down in a week after coming out of retirement to temporarily help guide the state's response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Tom Betlach will depart the Department of Economic Security on June 3 and Gov. Doug Ducey's office said an announcement about future leadership of the agency will be forthcoming, KNXV-TV reported.
The state's health services director, Dr. Cara Christ, had been serving as interim DES director since last fall before Betlach was brought on in March as the pandemic took hold in the state.
The unemployment benefits program overseen by the DES was challenged by huge numbers of benefits claims submitted by jobless workers and by the federal government's expansion of benefits beyond what state normally provides..
Betlack was a longtime state government senior official before he retired in 2018 after serving as director of the state's Medicaid program. He previously served as as state budget director.
The state Department of Health Services reported 431 additional COVID-19 cases and 24 additional deaths in Arizona as of Saturday, increasing the statewide totals in the coronavirus outbreak to 16,039 cases and 799 deaths.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.