PHOENIX (AP) — The Arizona Department of Revenue hired about two dozen higher-paid workers while it was firing more than 100 auditors and collectors, according to state documents.

Department Director David Briant has recruited at least 22 employees from other state agencies and has given them raises of nearly $11,000 on average since he was promoted to the job in October 2015 by Republican Gov. Doug Ducey, The Arizona Republic reported Friday.

A former Department of Environmental Quality employee received one of the largest raises at about $19,000, equaling a $90,000 annual salary, according to documents the newspaper obtained through a public records request. The employee was hired to become a senior lean coach, who is tasked with implementing the governor's agenda that aims to make state government more efficient.

The department also hired a former Department of Transportation employee to be a lean coach, giving him a $12,500 raise to make a $62,500 salary.

Lean coaches were hired to implement the Arizona Management System and improve work processes, said Megan Rose, a Department of Administration spokeswoman.

Revenue spokesman Ed Greenberg said the higher pay to the transferred employees should not be considered raises. Their pay corresponds with their experience and skill level, he said.

"It's important to distinguish that these are different jobs at a different agency," Greenberg said. "In the private sector, if someone is hired for a position, it would not be a raise because the successful candidate made less somewhere else."

The department has removed about 40 percent of its audit and collections employees since Ducey entered office in 2015. Audit collections fell 47 percent last year, dropping from nearly $177 million to nearly $94 million.

Ducey is now seeking for the department to rehire at least 25 tax collectors to generate more revenue.

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Information from: The Arizona Republic, http://www.azcentral.com