Resignation Surge in AZ Governor Katie Hobbs’ Administration as Chief of Staff Departs

Arizona Governor Katie Hobbs recently announced that Allie Bones, her Chief of Staff and decades-long friend, had resigned. Hobbs expressed her good wishes for Bones’ future endeavors. The resignation is effective immediately, and the Governor’s Office plans to announce a new Chief of Staff next week. Prior to becoming Chief of Staff to Gov. Hobbs, Bones served as Assistant Secretary of State for four years.

The resignation of Hobbs’ Communications director, Deputy Communication Director, and Legislative Affairs Director is part of a wave that includes other departures. Bones’ departure is interpreted by insiders at the state capital as a sign of a lack of confidence in Governor Abbott’s leadership.

In April, Hobbs was forced to replace Murphy Hebert as her Communications Director after Berry, Hobbs’s former Press Secretary, resigned. Berry’s resignation was forced after a controversial Twitter post made the day before the Nashville tragedy in which three children and three adult victims were killed by a transgender shooter at a Christian Academy.

Hobbs suffered a blow in February when the Arizona Senate denied her nomination of Theresa Cullen as the new director of the Arizona Department of Health Services. Senate vote was interrupted when Senate Minority leader Raquel Teran, (D), said that Governor has rescinded the nomination.

Matthew Stewart, whom Hobbs appointed as the Director of Child Services, resigned in the same month after the administration admitted they failed to vet candidates properly. Stewart was fired by Hobbs just one month and a quarter after he took up his position after Senate Republicans alleged troubling incidents from Stewart’s background. The allegations include reprimands issued for “insubordination” and “unauthorized absence” when Stewart was a DCS Training Operations Supervisor in 2020. Stewart resigned his post shortly before the suspension was to be announced in order to avoid any potential consequences.

Hobbs chose Michael Wisehart, who she had fired as the head of DCS from the Department of Economic Security, to replace Stewart.

Catherine Sigmon, a judicial appointment chosen by Hobbs in April, decided to withdraw her nomination days before the confirmation hearing of the Maricopa County Commission on Trial Court Appointments. Sigmon was appointed by Hobbs about four months ago. She chose to withdraw her nomination when the Senate Judiciary Committee brought up unsettling and hyperpartisan revelations.

In a release to the press, Senate Judiciary Chair Senator Anthony Kern (R), wrote:

Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee investigated Ms. Sigmon’s background before her Thursday confirmation hearing. They found disturbing revelations. She co-founded “Civic Engagement Beyond Voting”, an organization that regularly attacks conservative Arizona Judges through its “Gavel Watch Report”. It advocates for their removal despite the Commission on Judicial Performance Review’s recommendations to retain them.

Two important factors stand out to me after reviewing the Constitutional requirements of the Commission on Trial Court Appointments. The Commission must be nonpartisan. The Commission’s main task is to make recommendations to the Governor about qualified candidates for judgeships. It’s clear from the initial vetting that Ms. Sigmon is an extremist, who wants to portray herself as ‘nonpartisan.’ Hobbs could have known this if she had done her own vetting before appointing Ms. Sigmon. Hobbs’ vetting was not on her list of priorities, but as she has demonstrated, it isn’t. We are therefore grateful that Ms. Sigmon resigned after realizing she was not the right person for the position. Hobbs will hopefully provide us with a more appropriate appointment.

According to her LinkedIn profile, Sigmon was a co-founder of Save Our Schools, a controversial anti-school choice organization.

Bones’ resignation marks the fourth top-level resignation from the Hobbs Administration in the first half of her tenure. This has led to a worrying lack of stability at the highest levels of the state government.