The chief judge of the Arizona Court of Appeals is ordering the state's massive social services agency to immediately file citizen appeals of its decisions or face contempt of court proceedings.
Judge Michael Brown's unusual order comes after the court learned that as many as 140 appeals the Department of Economic Security was required to file with the court had been held, some for more than two years. The cases involved denied unemployment insurance and food stamp applications.
Brown's February 13 order gave the agency 20 days to file the old appeals and requires new appeals to be filed within 30 days.
DES spokeswoman Tasya Peterson said Thursday the agency has complied and will follow the order's terms. She blamed appeals staff turnover and "inefficient processes" for the problems.