By Craig McDermott, cross-posted from Random Musing
…Because someone should be updating his resume…
By now, most folks in AZ have heard of the confession by the director of the department that oversees Child Protective Services (CPS) that the agency dealt with its heavy workload the simplest way possible –
It ignored more than 6000 reports of possible child abuse.
Additionally, some CPS records related to those reports were found dumped in an alley.
There have been counter-statements "pooh-poohing" the concerns as much ado about very little (mostly by Republican legislators).
Now, Carter says that he isn't going anywhere, but he may not have much say in the matter.
Even before Governor Jan Brewer and the Republicans in the legislature gutted the state personnel system, making all state employees subject to the whims of the political class (aka – Brewer and the Republicans in the lege), agency heads were political appointments hired as much for their willingness to fall on their swords for their benefactors when it becomes necessary as for their competence in the area covered by their agency.
In short, he's going to take the fall for this mess. He's gone by the end of January; sooner if it turns out that some of the reports that the agency metaphorically buried concern kids who ended up buried, and not-so-metaphorically so.
Part of the reason that he's got to go is that it goes with the job. As the head of the agency, he is ultimately responsible for its operation. A failure as big as this one becomes his personal failure, regardless of the level of his personal involvement with it.
However, the bigger part of the reason that he will go is that the Governor and Republicans in the legislature need someone to shield them from their culpability in this.
They've spent years demonizing poor Arizona families and using their own unsupported rhetoric (OK – lies) to justify taking resources from the social safety net and redistributing them upwards to corporations and wealthy persons.
Reports state that currently, CPS faces a backlog of approximately 10,000 cases, and that isn't counting the 6000 that were just made public.
Under the previous conditions (backlog = 10K cases), CPS workers were considered "overworked and underpaid", and considering what Brewer, et. al. think of state employees and the poor Arizonans, that was "good enough" by the lights of Brewer and her compatriots.
However, the current conditions (backlog is 60% higher at 16K cases) indicate that the agency isn't just overworked, it's overwhelmed because it doesn't have the resources to do their job.
Carter, as department director, is responsible for ensuring that the agencies under his direction do their jobs.
He's failed at that mission, and he probably will lose his job over it. As he should.
Brewer and the lege are responsible for seeing that the agencies have the resources necessary to do those jobs.
They've failed at that mission, and while they should lose their jobs, too, they probably won't.
Hell, they probably won't accept any responsibility for the impact of their policies, they will probably find a way to justify the sacrifice of abused children on the altar of increased corporate profits.
On the other hand, we have some say on the subject, some direct influence to exert.
And we can do so, clearly and unequivocally, by firing them next November.
I have seen no evidence that Mr. Carter is professionally incompetent, nor have I seen any indication that he had direct knowledge of the practice of simply ignoring reports of abuse, much less directly participated in it.
I still think that he should still lose his job; he should not be the only person to do so, however.