Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Former DES Director Tim Jeffries exposes anti-Catholicism, bad players

Timothy Jeffries, KM
Former Director, Arizona DES


The two months of unrelenting hyper-negative press was a MANUFACTURED CRISIS designed to bleed me publicly and kill me politically. It was rooted in lies, half-truths, hyperbole and sensationalism. It was fueled by animosity, deceit, ambition, cunning, self-focus and self- aggrandizement. It was Machiavellian play at its most devious and calculating.

The Arizona Republic, particularly Craig Harris and Laurie Roberts, authored the MANUFACTURED CRISIS with direct support from former Senator Leah-Landrum Taylor, who led community engagement for me at DES. The MANUFACTURED CRISIS was maliciously accelerated and ultimately finalized by Elizabeth Thorsen, the State HR chief, with strong support and conniving involvement from Kirk Adams, the Governor’s Chief of Staff.

Why the HATE from these people?
Harris and Roberts are anti-Catholic, anti-conservative, anti-business and pro-status quo. They are hard-wired to dislike, if not hate, a guy like. My devout Christianity, love for First Amendment freedoms, passionate focus on accountability, and joyful insistence that DES be excellent are totally foreign to them in an agency director. NET-NET: they won, Arizona lost!!

Taylor is extremely ambitious, breathtakingly cunning and willing to slash and burn anyone who thwarts and/or opposes her. Unbeknownst to me, she wanted to oust me shortly after her arrival at DES. Taylor was hell-bent on securing my position even though I rescued her from the Arizona Department of Education and blessed her with (her) dream job” in the community.

Thorsen is a classic state bureaucrat. She is self-serving and duplicitous. She desperately wanted to cover up ADOA HR Division’s high level of involvement and regular support of the 475 exits at DES in an urgent multi-week effort to save her job and prove herself a HR heroine to Chief Henry Darwin.

Adams is a Machiavellian power player. He asked me to resign on Thursday, October 20th, and he finally vanquished me the day before Thanksgiving. He thrives on being the Governor’s savior.

What did I (aka Director J.) accomplish in 633 days?
  •   Joyfully transformed broken, calcified, suffering 43 year old agency deemed irreparable
  •   Increased DES Colleague Survey Score by 300%, and led all large state agencies by 2x to 2.5x thereby raising the overall state score 39% from 1.8:1 to 2.5:1
  •   Issued first-ever and second-ever performance merit payments to DES colleagues in 2015 and 2016
  •   Created agency-wide programs to provide tuition reimbursement for colleagues and bonus
    stipends for those who are bilingual to better serve clients
  •   Visited all 140 DES sites in Arizona, and all 24 state-owned group homes (164 different sites)
  •   Hosted over 500 colleague meetings, roundtable and town halls over 633 high energy dayspage1image24776
      Tripled the number of colleague donors to 1,165 to the 2015 State Employee Charitable Campaign (SECC) to benefit an array of state-designated charities, and led all state agencies
  •   Doubled the amount of charitable donations from DES colleagues to $178,000 in 2015
  •   Engaged over 400 community partners and non-profit organizations throughout Arizona
  •   Held unprecedented 1:1 meetings with 59 of 60 members of the Arizona House of Representatives
  •   Held unprecedented 1:1 meetings with 30 of 30 members of the Arizona State Senate
  •   Engaged senior tribal leadership with every one of the 22 Tribal Nations in Arizona
  •   Ramped up security at 16 largest DES offices housing approximately 72% of DES colleagues in urgent response to the San Bernardino Massacre at a California social services center for special citizens with developmental and intellectual disabilities
  •   Orchestrated the opening of several new DES multi-service centers and DES mobile outreach units throughout state to improve environments for colleagues and engagement with clients
  •   Staggered DES Service Center operating hours to better serve clients AND colleagues
  •   Banned DES colleagues yelling client names in service centers to facilitate respect and dignity
  •   Launched and vigorously led the “DES Colleague Freedom Initiative,” and successfully slashed as follows:
o Archaic DES policies by 51%
o Cumbersome DES procedures by 49% o Outdated DES forms by 31%
  •   Revamped DES Vision, Mission, Values, Goals, Priorities, Measurements and Outreach
  •   Transformed and changed over 90% of the DES Executive Leadership Team (ELT)
  •   Per the Governors direction, upgraded 6.2% of the DES colleague workforce (with goal of 10%) via various personnel moves and transitions impacting 475 employees (with goal of 770)
  •   Partnered with relevant law enforcement agencies to arrest 7 former DES employees for various offenses in an effort to root out fraud and corruption
  •   Per the Governors direction, reduced DES workforce by at least 2% (approx. 150 positions)
  •   Prepared and initiated actionable plan to reduce DES workforce by an additional 3% in
    2016/2017 and another 5% by December 2018 with intent to reduce DES employee count by
    approx. 770 employees to save $40 million annually and $200 million over 5 years
  •   Ranked #1 in America for establishing paternity for children in Arizona in 2015 and 2016
  •   Ranked #1 in America for in-home care of individuals with developmental and intellectual
    disabilities in 2015 and 2016
  •   Reduced case backlog in Adult Protective Services (APS) cases by over 60% via a highly successful optimization initiative designed to position our APS caseworkers to better engage, serve and protect our clients at risk of abuse and neglect
  •   Partnered with relevant law enforcement agencies to make 14 arrests for fraud and other offenses
  •   Launched “Project Quantum Leap” to retire 103 legacy custom IT systems in 24 months with a nation-leading unified Salesforce platform to revolutionize DES and ultimately social services throughout America; projected savings to exceed $200 million over 5 years 

Saturday, January 14, 2017

More on the shameful yellow journalism of Arizona Republic reporter Craig Harris regarding Tim Jeffries

Arizona Daily Independent has a great follow-up article to its first piece on the wrongful firing of Tim Jeffries as head of DES. In it, the paper names the Republic's Craig Harris as primarily responsible for getting him fired with his yellow journalism. I have also previously reported on the corrupt reporting. Here are some excerpts - 

I was somewhat amazed to hear that the staff at the Arizona Daily Independent received an irate, better yet belligerent phone call the other day from Mr. Craig Harris, the senior investigative reporter at the Arizona Republic, referred to by many as the Arizona Repugnant.  Given the confidence, better yet arrogance, of this wannabe muckraker in the Republic of Maricopa, it amused us, albeit darkly amused us, that the fellow with more ink than most Arizonans was so breathtakingly defensive about his seemingly endless “reporting” on Mr. Timothy Jeffries, the former colleague/client-loving Director of the Arizona Department of Economic Security (DES), affectionately known by several thousand supportive DES employees as “Director J.” (Arizona’s Poor Lost When Jeffries Was Axed)
The memorable phone call leads us to believe Mr. Harris is not nearly as confident in his shoddy, superficial, one-sided, mean-spirited “investigative reporting” about Mr. Jeffries as he surely wants the Pulitzer Prize Committee to believe.  In fact, we wonder aloud if he thinks our humble truth-telling blog has finally unmasked him for the devious and deceitful charlatan that he was in subjecting the God-loving patriot “Director J.” to an unceremonious and unjust death by a thousand scurrilous paper cuts.  His impressive, unprofessional and petulant rant reminds us of the great Shakespeare scene in Hamlet.  You know the one…
One of the comments left after the article - 
Craig Harris has done a serious disservice to the poor of Arizona, but then what does he care? His singular objective was to take a good man, a change agent, who worked diligently to move the culture of a “me” oriented agency, and give it a soul that focused outwardly on the poorest among us. I spoke several time with Tim and each time the conversation was about others, not himself. It was about topics like employees at the agency who were stealing from the poor when they game the system, or people who look down on the less fortunate as though they themselves were superior. His objective was to “drain the swamp” of DES, ridding it of bullies, bad actors, arrogance and people who stole from the poor.
Harris has caught the attention of many, and has spurned some to ask about standing up a school of investigative journalism to combat the lack of journalist integrity, to raise the bar high enough so that pathetic excuses for writers such as he have no place to go. Director J will be missed, but he will. It disappear. Some fortunate organization will get a passionate, servant leader when they hire Tim Jeffries and I will be glad for them both.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Wrongly prosecuted Rick Renzi out of prison, appealing massive prosecutor corruption in March with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals

Wrongly imprisoned former Arizona Congressman Rick Renzi was released out of a halfway house today. Oral arguments for his appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals will be in March. I can't wait. With Alex Kozinsky on the court, one of the strongest denouncers of corrupt prosecutors withholding exculpatory evidence, Renzi is finally going to be vindicated. He's going to have a HUGE lawsuit against the crooked prosecutor and detectives, and I also hope he presses criminal charges against them. I'll be right there covering it all with articles. This is the WORST case of a legally targeted prosecution of a Republican politician I have ever encountered, as a former prosecutor with the Maricopa County Attorney's Office and a former Arizona Assistant Attorney General. I will not stop writing about this horrific case until he is exonerated. 

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Those 40 fired DES employees who are being hired back?

Fired DES Director Tim Jeffries responds to the rehiring, explaining that they WERE fired for legitimate reasons. This is unfortunate for the good employees who now have to work with them again, and the poor will have to deal with them. As soon as I get ahold of their names I intend to expose as much as possible.

From comments he left at The Arizona Daily Independent -

Tim J., formerly "Director J." | December 24, 2016 at 8:33 am | Reply
From the “Fact Are Our Friends,” I note the following:
1) At DES, we reduced the size of the workforce by 2% (approx. 7,700 to 7,500) in line with the Governor Ducey’s initiative to reduce the overall size of government.
2) At DES, 475 employees (approx. 6%) were exited in line with Governor Ducey’s third expectation in his “8 Leadership Traits” memo to “weed out” the worst 10%.
3) The overall demographics of the 475 DES employees that were exited were in line with the overall demographic percentages of DES. Only poor performers and bad actors were targeted.
4) Per 2012 Personnel Reform, no reason is required for the release of an AT WILL employee yet legitimate reasons were still necessary for terminations during my directorship.
5) Every former AT WILL employee who was exited had the individual option to file legal action as the individual deemed appropriate.
6) Only one former AT WILL employee filed a legal claim, and she eventually withdrew her suit.
7) When I commenced my directorship approx. 1,800 employees were COVERED employees; when I concluded my work approx. 350 employees were covered employees.
8) My recollection is that during my directorship approx. 25 covered folks retired, and approx. 25 covered employees were exited.
9) Every COVERED employee who was exited had the individual option to file a grievance with the State Personnel Board.
10a) Only two former COVERED employees filed a termination grievance with the State Personnel Board, and the two DES actions were sustained.
10b) I heard one of the terminated covered employees was rehired which means ADOA overruled the State Personnel Board’s prior ruling sustaining the termination.
11) Overall, approx. former 1,400 covered folks continue to work at DES, and are eligible for annual merit payments (which is awesome for them and their families).
12) It will be interesting to review the list of the folks who will be offered jobs. I will not recognize every name. However, I will recognize some, and the some I recognize are ones that were terminated with a good reason or two or three or four…

Tim J., formerly "Director J." | December 24, 2016 at 8:58 am | Reply
I sure hope that this ex-employee (aka BULLY) is not rehired!!
From: DES HR
Sent: Thursday, May 26, 2016 12:17 PM
To: Timothy Jeffries
Cc: Relevant DES Executives
Subject: RE: Loved my job. . . .now don’t know what I am going to do. . .
Good afternoon Director J.,
(The ex-employee in question) was elevated to be exited based on her rude, hostile and unprofessional comments to other colleagues, as well as performance deficiencies. I have attached our synopsis for your complete review but I wanted to highlight a couple of substantiated examples are:
• (The ex-employee in question) admittedly stated to her supervisor, when speaking about the quality case reader, ‘I want to ring my case reader’s neck….the case reader is anal and I might as well shove my cane up her ass.’
• Concerns regarding (the ex-employee in question) interaction with colleagues was being discussed with her by her office manager. During the meeting (The ex-employee in question) stated she ‘Feels like everyone else here is just waiting time, are snot-nosed kids’, while pumping her fists in the air in anger.
• (The ex-employee in question) stated to her manager, regarding other colleagues, ‘I am sick of all these babies telling what to do, when they are still wet behind the ears and I would like to put them over my knee.’
Her violations of the TRIAD and lack of remorse, as well as performance issues and resistance to coaching toward improvement were of great concern and led to her exit.
Please let me know if you would like any additional information or details.
Have a great day!
Human Resources Administrator

Monday, December 19, 2016

Death of a Reformer

Tim lightened up the agency with fun things like this smiley face statue
Arizona Republican Governor Doug Ducey fired his top reformer last month, Tim Jeffries, who he’d recruited to head the Department of Economic Security in February of 2015. Jeffries came in and cleaned up the agency, firing corrupt employees and improving morale, but once those terminated workers complained to the left-leaning Arizona Republic, the paper went all out to take him down with baseless smears, and the governor eventually deserted him.

With a background in the private sector, Jeffries went about reforming government at the “speed of business.” When Ducey took office almost two years ago, he instructed state agency directors to reduce their agencies by 2 percent. Jeffries is probably the only agency director who accomplished that goal, terminating 475 employees and eliminating some of those positions. Prior to Jeffries’ arrival, DES had become a bloated agency, the second largest in the state with over 7,000 employees and several hundred temporary workers and high-priced contractors.
Jeffries had the Arizona Attorney General’s Office bring charges against a corrupt state legislator who fraudulently obtained $1,726 in food stamps. Democratic Rep. Ceci Velasquez “falsely claimed she had two dependents, gave a false address and allowed two other people to use her food stamp benefit card.” A grand jury indicted her on three felonies for welfare fraud. The investigation had started under Jeffries’ predecessor, but went nowhere since he was afraid to touch it. Why are elected officials above the law? No Arizona public official had ever been investigated and prosecuted for food stamp fraud prior to Jeffries’ directorship. The AG’s office eventually caved, letting her plea to a mere misdemeanor charge and probation. Velasquez plans to run again for the Arizona House in 2018 after her lone misdemeanor clears.
Velasquez’s friend, Democratic Sen. Martin Quezada, launched a Twitter firestorm bashing Jeffries and defending Velasquez, predicting Jeffries’ demise. Jeffries set up a meeting with Quezada about the situation, but for well over an hour, all Quezada could do was act as an apologist for Velasquez. He talked about her lower income level and the poverty of her constituents, and claimed she was being targeted. Jeffries responded, “The only people that DES targets for investigation are those who steal from the poor. I’m not a policymaker, I’m a policy implementer. So if you and your elected colleagues want to pass a law that allows members of the House and Senate to have food stamps they’re not entitled to, then you pass a law to do so. Until then, DES will investigate anyone and everyone who rips off the poor.”
Once the media decides it doesn’t like you, it throws a bunch of accusations together with the words “controversial” and “scandal.” Craig Harris, a reporter with the Republic, is known for putting together sloppy paragraphs with a flashy headline, repeating the same baseless claims over and over throughout multiple articles. Additionally, the Republic suffers from a failure to separate between news and opinion articles. Republic opinion writer Laurie Roberts, also known for her hit pieces on conservatives, tag teamed with Harris against Jeffries. She became increasingly hyperbolic with her histrionics, titling one column “Booze Before Blood.” It was a cruel jab at Jeffries, because she knew fully well that one of the men who killed his brother drank alcohol before killing him.  
The paper piled on Jeffries and his revamped management team for firing 475 employees, accusing him of terminating employees who didn’t deserve to be fired. Yet none of this reporting addressed the specific reasons the former employees were terminated, including the fact most of the employees were at-will employees and only one of them had sued the agency over it. The Republic and other newspapers could not stand Jeffries blunt-spoken style; Jeffries did not hesitate to call some of the fired employees “bullies, liars, racists, sexual harassers, and multi-year bad actors.” Instead, the biased articles discussed how many of the employees were women, seniors, and minorities even though the percentages released were in line with DES employee statistics.
The reality is there was a lot of unseemly, unethical and criminal activity taking place. After Jeffries was terminated, an employee emailed him, “I want to thank you for your selfless service to all employees, clients and taxpayers during your time at DES. It was obvious to most employees how you gave back and touched many people with the true intent of helping the poor and those who serve them. I’ve worked at DES since 2008 and believe me the agency as well as anyone who has ever paid taxes owes you a debt of gratitude. Most of those a**holes that got fired were stealing from the poor or manipulating those who bust their a** to serve them.”
The Republic is now sympathetically covering the attempts of the terminated employees to regain their jobs.
Ironically, Jeffries was fired in part for merely carrying out the governor’s orders — something probably all the other agency directors failed to do. They were instructed in the governor’s “8 Expected Traits of an Agency Director” to “Be wedded to a ‘promote the best; weed out the worst’ philosophy.” They were told, “The Bell Curve is a near-universal phenomenon. Figure out a way to eliminate the worst 10% of any category. … If there are employees who are clearly under-performing and ill-serving the taxpayers, then take steps to replace them with someone who will do better.”
Jeffries slashed the case backlog by approximately 60 percent at Adult Protective Services. He increased the percentage of employees who said they were satisfied with their jobs from 62 percent to 78 percent. Positive colleague engagement increased 300 percent. In other words, employee morale tripled. He created a fun, caring work atmosphere. He put together inspiring, lighthearted videos featuring the employees and outlining their accomplishments, often making fun of himself to give his “cherished colleagues” a laugh or two. One observer told him, “My guess is that for the vast majority of your employees, for one bright shining moment, they were somebody doing incredibly important work for an agency that they could be proud of.”
A DES employee told him it’s a shame the public doesn’t know that “you created merit payments, you brought back tuition, you raised wages on the front line and regularly visited staff around the state to address issues for clients and employees alike.” Jeffries describes himself as an “anti-bureaucrat,” telling National Review’s Kathryn Jean Lopez, “I shepherd this agency like a multimillion-dollar nonprofit.”
The Republic extensively covered a series of allegations against Jeffries, but virtually all of them are false. He was accused of compiling a “do-not-hire” list of fired DES employees — but it was really another agency which created the list, the Department of Administration.
He was wrongly attacked for his Catholic faith, which I addressed in a previous article. Government employees do not check their First Amendment rights at the workplace door; when I worked for Arizona State Government, our Bible Study group legally used the email system to schedule our meetings. Jeffries is told he’s bold about his faith, but he says, “I’m just pursuing my faith and honoring my First Amendment rights.”
Leah Landrum-Taylor, a former Democratic state legislator who worked for Jeffries and reportedly wanted his job, told the Republic that Jeffries bought alcohol for employees during work hours in Nogales, but it was a lie; Jeffries has a time-stamped photo of him with Landrum-Taylor in the Nogales DES office after the time she stated the party started. The restaurant visit took place for colleagues after their respective work hours. Every DES client was kindly served that day in Nogales and throughout Arizona. The paper also smeared him for using the “governor’s plane” for the trip, however the three state planes are owned by the Department of Public Safety, and the interagency agreement for DES to use air assets was in place prior to Jeffries’ arrival. Furthermore, other Arizona agency directors use the planes too.
The Republic and other media sources have repeatedly featured DES employee Andy Hall, who Jeffries had terminated shortly after Hall criticized the DES press secretary for emailing employees about his latest disagreement with Jeffries. The Republic didn’t bother to report that “Hall is a know it all, never afraid to challenge, grate and insult people,” a source told me. Hall “sent two insulting emails to the DES press secretary” and ranted online frequently about DES and Jeffries. Regardless, as an at-will employee, no reason was required to fire him.
Prior to Jeffries’ arrival, over 30 DES service centers had armed security guards to protect employees and clients. After the terrorist attack in San Bernardino took place at a social services center for people with developmental and intellectual disabilities, Jeffries directed his inspector general to transition the contract guard security force to a newly formed DES Protective Services. This group would continue the paramount mission to protect DES employees and clients. This group would also be better trained and more cost effective, thereby positioning DES to expand the number of service centers with armed protection. The Republic slammed him for implementing this common-sense measure, even though DPS guidelines were followed throughout and the effort to protect DES employees and clients was highly transparent.

This is a classic example of how the left is able to take down the brightest, innovative conservatives; through smears, insinuations and outright lies. Since Jeffries’ departure, many of the significant projects have been halted. It is the poor, disabled and downtrodden who will suffer as government returns to moving at the speed of a glacier, fired “bullies and bad actors” return, and agency morale plummets. The bright shining moment for thousands of DES employees is dimming.

For more information, see Arizona's Poor Lost When Jeffries Was Axed

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Arizona is set to rebrand Common Core again, time is running out

If you put lipstick on the Common Core pig, it is still a pig!

The Arizona Department of Education (ADE) and State Board of Education (SBE) are on the verge of rebranding the Common Core State Standards for the second time in three years. The latest 2016 draft of the English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics Standards shows very few changes.

Jennifer Reynolds, publisher of Arizonans Against Common Core, circulated an urgent communication Wednesday urging the public to speak out against the proposed 2016 standards.

The ADE Working Groups were tasked to review and incorporate our public comments which have been ignored. Our pleas to take out the “prescriptive examples and developmentally inappropriate standards for ELA and Mathematics” have been brushed aside, and the ADE Working Groups proceeded with the 2nd rewrite with very little changes to the Arizona’s College and Career Ready Standards (aka Common Core). If you put lipstick on the Common Core pig, it is still a pig!
When Governor Jan Brewer (R) used an executive order to rebrand Common Core in 2013, there was less public awareness regarding the standards. The growing awareness among the public has not effected change. Parents and teachers have watched Arizona become one of the top five worst states for teachers and school-system quality.

Reynolds has a message to everyone who wants Common Core repealed and local control of education restored:

We need your voices at the Arizona Standards Development Committee Meeting on December 14th.
December 14, 9am at the ADE building (1535 W. Jefferson, Phoenix, AZ 85007). If you have commented on the draft 2016 ELA and Math standards AND/OR if you are fed up with what is happening in your child’s classroom with the Common Core standards and testing please show up and let your voices be heard. Nothing will change in Arizona if the 2016 ELA and Mathematics standards are approved by the Arizona Standards Development Committee and the State Board of Education which will happen with a subsequent vote. Common Core will be here to stay if we don’t rise up and stop it! 

Can't attend the meeting?  HERE is a list of who to contact.

Read the rest of the article at Western Free Press

Friday, December 9, 2016

Sessions’ first move at DOJ should be to clear Rep. Rick Renzi

Once Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions is confirmed as attorney general, he must work with Congress to clean up the corruption within the Department of Justice. One of the first cases he should review is the prosecution of former Arizona Congressman Rick Renzi.

As a former assistant attorney general for the state of Arizona and a former prosecutor with the Maricopa County Attorney's Office, I have never seen a more egregious political prosecution as well as corrupt electioneering by a foreign interest than the DOJ’s crusade against Renzi.

Some may remember that Renzi was convicted in a split verdict on some corruption counts involving two proposed federal land exchanges. What has been found since casts grave doubt on the legitimacy of the investigation, prosecution, and conviction.