The head of the Department of Economic Security is quitting after nearly two years on the job.
In a letter Monday to Gov. Jan Brewer, Neal Young said he is proud of what the agency has been able to do, even in a time of reduced funding. But Young, named to the post by Brewer in April 2009, gave no reason for his decision.
Gubernatorial press aide Paul Senseman said Brewer did not ask for his resignation.
"The governor and the administration hold him in very high regard,'' Senseman said. And Young, who said his last day will be Jan. 14, said in a memo to DES staff he will be working "to ensure a smooth transition.''
The agency's most visible and controversial division is Child Protective Services. That part of the agency has come under fire for years -- predating Young's arrival as director -- for failing to remove children from homes who later turn up seriously injured or dead.
But it also handles eligibility for social welfare programs like food stamps as well as unemployment insurance.
Senseman said state law requires a formal search process to find a replacement.
Young had worked for the agency in other capacities in the 1990s through 2001. He then went to work for the city of Phoenix, overseeing its public housing program.