n a Wednesday post on X, Arizona Treasurer Kimberly Yee announced that the order of succession in Arizona had reached down to her. “I have been notified that I will be serving as Acting Governor beginning later this evening until mid-morning tomorrow,” a release posted with her tweet said.
Yee quickly referenced an ongoing drama over who can lead Arizona’s various departments.
“While I am pleased to step into this role, I will refrain from naming directors to the 13 agencies that currently have vacancies and will not call the Arizona Legislature into session to confirm them. That being said, I do hope when the Governor returns to Arizona, she will promptly name qualified directors to these important state agencies and remove the legal uncertainty that exists for all of the regulatory actions taken by the agencies. I expect to see a swift resolution to this matter, so we can get back to getting the work done for Arizona taxpayers. The people of Arizona deserve leaders who follow the rule of law.”
Hobbs was in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday after a trip to Taiwan, according to the Arizona Republic. The Arizona Capitol Times said Secretary of State Adrian Fontes was scheduled to leave Arizona Wednesday night, triggering Yee’s stint as acting governor because Attorney General Kris Mayes is also out of the state.
Yee’s temporary ascension came after she put her foot down on appointments made by Hobbs. Yee barred two people Hobbs named as “executive deputy directors” from sitting on the State Board of Investment. Yee called their status “murky” and said Hobbs was “thumbing her nose at the law.”
Without Senate-confirmed individuals heading agencies “then we really do have some rogue people sitting in top positions, making executive decisions, and who are not elected, for a very long time,” she said.
“We expect Treasurer Yee to stop playing political games,” said Christian Slater, a press aide for Hobbs.
Yee’s action stems from a series of maneuvers involving the people Hobbs appointed to serve as directors of various state agencies.Thirteen Hobbs nominees have not been confirmed, in some cases with the Committee on Director Nominations saying they should not be confirmed.
Although they could remain in office for a year as interim directors, Hobbs decided on another gambit. She withdrew the nominations and then made Ben Henderson, interim director of the Department of Administration, the interim director of other agencies.
He then named “executive deputy directors” who would actually run the agencies. Such positions do not exist under state law.
Yee blew the whistle on the tactic. “We received legal counsel that this is an area that would not be abiding by the law which requires the director of an agency to sit as members of the board legally,” she said. ✪