Associated Press Writer
ATLANTA — A director who was supposed to bring stability to a Columbus-area child protection office now under law enforcement scrutiny will resign just months after taking the job, state officials said Friday.
Jose Marrero, director of the Muscogee County office of the Division of Family and Children Services, started his job July 1 but will leave Oct. 30 for what state officials described as personal reasons. Marrero has not been accused of any wrongdoing.
“We appreciate and thank him for his commitment to the children and families in Muscogee County,” DHS Commissioner Clyde Reese said in a statement. Marrero did not return a message seeking comment.
Law enforcement officials are investigating accusations that employees in the office destroyed or tampered with child abuse reports so it would appear they were meeting internal guidelines on how quickly child abuse complaints should be probed. That investigation became public last month when police searched the Columbus DFCS office and arrested intake supervisor Phyllis Mitchell and former acting director Deborah Cobb on charges of making false statements and encouraging others to lie.
Mitchell and Cobb have not yet entered a plea. Mitchell does not have a defense lawyer. Cobb’s attorney, Stacey Jackson, did not immediately return a message seeking comment.
Marrero had been on the job about two months when the raid happened. Federal investigators have told state authorities that the probe started in 2008, years before Marrero joined the division.
The county director’s post had been held by interim or temporary leaders, including Cobb, before Marrero was hired. DFCS Director Ron Scroggy said in an interview last month that he hoped having Marrero as a permanent director would strengthen the office’s ties with the surrounding community. After the raid, DFCS sent senior leaders and a specialized five-person team to assist and help oversee its Columbus office.
“A lot of what we’re doing in this action plan is trying to provide him support and build community confidence back up,” Scroggy said at the time, referring to Marrero.