Emails show Wendy Smith-Reeve and Ducey aides were at odds over who should lead response. Top aide says she wasn’t asked to resign.
By Brahm Resnik | 12 News
Arizona’s emergency management director stepped down Saturday, in an apparent split with Gov. Doug Ducey’s top aides over their handling of the coronavirus crisis.
12 News has learned that Wendy Smith-Reeve, a 24-year veteran of the Division of Emergency Management, submitted her resignation Thursday night and it took effect Saturday afternoon.
It comes as Arizona enters a third week under a state of emergency that was declared by the governor to deal with the spread of the coronavirus.
In emails provided to 12 News by the governor’s office, Smith-Reeve accuses Ducey of ignoring his own order on how to manage public emergencies. She contends she was squeezed out in favor of staffers, including Department of Health Services employees, who aren’t trained in emergency management and who are “degrading” the process.
“It has become clear that my role is being addressed by the governor’s staff and ADHS which means my presence and function is duplicative,” Smith-Reeve wrote in a resignation email dated Thursday. “That is not healthy for the Team who are working tirelessly on this event.”