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Ducey announces new Department of Economic Security director

(Twitter Photo/@9thFloorAZ)

PHOENIX — Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey announced on Thursday the new director of the Arizona Department of Economic Security.

Michael Wisehart — a 20-year veteran of AZDES — will serve as the department’s new head, Ducey said during a press conference.

“To our knowledge, he is the first director to be promoted from within the agency,” Ducey said

“We have confidence that no one knows this agency better than Michael Wisehart and that he will service the people of Arizona well going forward.”

Wisehart’s achievements at DES include creating the Arizona Department of Child Safety, leading efforts on the department’s second chance centers and developing enrichment centers for children of essential workers.

Wisehart earned his Master of Business Administration from Arizona State University.

AZDES’ Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program — which coordinates coronavirus-related unemployment benefits — paid out $355,870,044 during its first operative week, according to a report from the department.

From May 16 to May 23, the program allocated the funds in accordance with 77,053 initial claims.

On Sunday, AZDES announced that Director Tom Betlach would be stepping down from his role on June 3.

Betlach originally came out of retirement in March to hold the position for 75 days.

Dr. Cara Christ, who currently serves as the director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, is also interim director for AZDES.

For all articles, information and updates on the coronavirus from KTAR News, visit

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