Monday, October 14, 2013

Hagler Gone

Friday Governor Jay Nixon removed Jon Hagler from his post as Director of the Department of Agriculture.

Nixon’s statement: “Jon has been a trusted friend and advisor for many years and I appreciate his unwavering commitment to the people of Missouri, especially our farm families and rural communities throughout the state,” Gov. Nixon said. “During his tenure, Jon helped make the Missouri Department of Agriculture more efficient and effective, and played a vital role helping the agricultural community respond and recover from last year’s unprecedented drought. His service to the state is deeply appreciated and I wish him all the best in his future endeavors.”

The AP article (see it here) cited a letter from a disgruntled employee as a catalyst for the change.  That could be.  Another source thinks that Hagler’s recent divorce from Rep. Linda Black was not as coincidental as the AP article makes it appear.  And yet another source believes that Hagler’s involvement in the E15 rule was a factor (“If you work for a Gov, you are supposed to take bullets for the Gov, not shoot them at him.”)

In other words, it was probably an accumulation of things.  Nixon named Harry Bozoian as the interim head of the department.

For those who care, here’s the letter…

October 10, 2013

To Whom It May Concern:

 

This letter is to inform you of my intent to take early retirement and leave my position as Associate Director of the Missouri Meat and Poultry Inspection Program. My retirement date is set for October 31, 2013. I will use thirteen days of the annual leave that I have built up beginning on October 15, 2013. Therefore, my last working day will be on Friday October 11, 2013.

 

I believe that it is important for you to understand why I have made this life changing decision at this time. Although I am saddened at the thought of abandoning a program that I have worked so hard to build and maintain the thought of working in an environment of hostility, disrespect, intimidation and fear outweighs my need to prove myself. The final confirmation of how little respect this administration has for me, and the meat inspection program, happened during a recent meeting with the MDA Director, Human Resources, State Veterinarian, Director of Meat and Poultry Inspection and me. This meeting was being held because the State Veterinarian and the Meat and Poultry Inspection Program had opposing views of how to fill four positions that were allocated to the meat and poultry inspection program in the 2014 budget. During the meeting the MDA Director told me that the work I do is actually that of an Environmental Public Health Specialist V but that he would leave me where I am. That was a direct insult to me and I feel it was meant to “put me in my place” in front of the State Veterinarian. The MDA Director then went on to tell me and the Director of the Meat and Poultry Inspection Program that he does not “need” meat inspection but that he needed the current State Veterinarian and that if he ever had to have a meeting with the meat inspection program and the State Veterinarian again that the Director of Meat Inspection or I would be fired. Understand this is not the first time that the threat of firing has been directed toward me. Firing has become a common threat that is leveled toward anyone who disagrees with the MDA administration or makes an unintentional mistake at this department. At the conclusion of this meeting it was obvious that the MDA Director was unwilling to communicate directly with the meat and poultry inspection program administrators and that his expectation was that all communication was to come through the State Veterinarian. This chain of command may seem reasonable to some but considering the obvious disrespect and understanding that the State Veterinarian has toward the Meat and Poultry Inspection Program, along with the unwillingness of the MDA Director to have direct communication with program administrators, the demise of the program seems imminent.

 

I have dedicated the last thirteen years of my life to food safety and encouraging the growth of small business. It is my fervent wish that industry understands that my decision is not because I am not dedicated to helping your businesses thrive. I have always been your advocate and even though I have been adamant about enforcing all of the USDA/FSIS rules and policies I have never lost sight of your rights under “due process” and the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Act (SBREFA). Quite recently I found out that one of our state inspected facilities was utilizing the Missouri Department of Agriculture’s Laboratory in Springfield for testing their products and their private sample results were shared with the Meat and Poultry Inspection Program. I immediately emailed the State Veterinarian and Deputy Director of MDA to inform them of this breach of privacy. I was called away from a training session that I was facilitating to the MDA office for a meeting with the State Veterinarian, Deputy Director of MDA, and Deputy Director of Animal Health. I was scolded for sending the email and fought to explain the reason that these results are private. The Deputy Director of MDA told me that we are the Department of Agriculture and that we should have the right to those results. I disagreed and left that meeting feeling disrespected. It was obvious that the decision would be left to the State Veterinarian.

 

To the staff of the Missouri Meat and Poultry Inspection Program all I can say is thank you. Without your hard work and dedication this program would not have survived. I am proud of the work you do and have received many compliments from USDA/FSIS about your knowledge and professionalism. I wish you all well and will miss seeing you. 

 

I am hopeful that my hard work is appreciated and respected by industry, my counterparts in the twenty-six state meat inspection programs, USDA/FSIS and academia. I have maintained a level of honesty and integrity that has allowed me to develop relationships that I will always cherish and will continue long after I have left this position.

 

If you wish to contact me my phone number is

 

Sincerely,

Beth Ewers

Rumorville: Aycock Possible Replacement

One rumor floating around is that southeast businessman Barry Aycock, who has recently been making the political rounds, could be tapped to succeed Hagler.  We’ll see…

Medicaid Expansion Outlook Grim

A strong House source says that Medicaid expansion is highly unlikely next session.  “It has about the same chance that it had last year.” 

Instead they’re looking at pursuing a Medicaid reform package.  And two sources are saying that “reform” means putting the state’s Medicaid program totally under a managed care company.

If that’s how this is going down, then there’ll be a major scrum over who gets that contract.  Though there might be one minor quibble for the non-believers… would the managed care operators actually save the state money?

Moody on State Revenue

In notes to his clients, budget guru and lobbyist Jim Moody offers some insight into an interesting situation with the state revenues…

“The FY 2014 consensus general revenue estimate is $7.929 billion.  The consensus estimate was not revised after the end of FY 2013 even though FY 2013 revenues grew by 10.1%.  Actual GR receipts for FY 2013 were $8.082 billion, driven by huge increases in one-time capital gains receipts.  So FY 2013 GR receipts were greater than the FY 2014 consensus estimate.

“This may seem counter-intuitive, but Missouri can reach the current 2014 consensus estimate even if revenues decline by $153 million from FY 2013 actual receipts.  This would be a decline of slightly less than 2%.  So flat revenues are cause for concern, but they do not necessarily mean further budget withholdings.”

Is This News?

Sen. Brian Nieves unleashed an internet tirade of such venom that Springfield News Leader reporter Jonathan Shorman thought it worthy of a print article.  See it here.

For those who care, here’s the rant against Tom Martz and an organization called Locke and Smith…

This organization is probably one of the best examples of the WORST kind of group to be associated with! A group like this is willing to throw people like Ron Calzone, Dave Roland, yours truly, and other people we know to be Extreme Constitutionalists under the bus! They only know how to criticize while actually doing Nothing! Pretty sad.

 

They have a "board" of "leaders" who sit in judgement of the members of our state legislature. Now, keep in mind that that sounds like a great thing until you learn a little bit about these people! Each year they spends hours and hours as a "board" to determine who the most constitutional member of the Missouri House & Senate are. I'm embarrassed to tell you that I almost always make their "Top Five" designation! Why am I embarrassed? Take a little time to look in to this group.... They do NOT engage in the process yet act as though they are experts in the inner workings of the legislative process. They are currently saying our "2nd Amendment Preservation Act" is patently unconstitutional and would make our Founding Fathers roll over in their graves!! They also say that Senators Chappell Naddal and Keaveny are also in that "Top Five" designation!! Have you seen the legislation those two file and support? Now, don't get me wrong - I genuinely like and am friends with both those senators but ANY organization who stands against HB436 and then places those two senators in the "Top Five" most constitutional is a Joke!

 

This is also the group who's "leader" Tom Martz is the kind of person who still has not apologized for the disgusting behavior he exhibited on behalf of Lock & Smith while my 15y/o daughter was on Life Support in the ICU!! These people are SICK, in fact you can hit their page right now and see, in their own writing, what kind of people they are. Seems to me that some of them need a good old fashioned American Style lesson in common human decency!

 

For well in excess of 20yrs I've served this Great Republic in a number of ways. Ten years active duty military, Five years running the roads with my good friend, and current chief of staff, Dave Bailey, and for the last 11 years I've proven year after year after year that I can be trusted as a conservative leader. People like Marc Perez, Zachary Fuchs, Tim Hays, Ron Calzone, Paul Curtman, Dennis D. Broadbooks, Bill Clugston, and many many others who actually engage in the process and work with legislators while totally holding them accountable are the kind we should thank while these people of the Lock & Smith Group should be ignored, if not run out of town! Look in to these people, look at the things they say about me and other well known, proven conservatives, and most importantly to me...

 

Check out their history, attitude, suggestions, and statements about when my daughter was clinging to life in the ICU!! These are SICK & Useless people. You know I done mince words, never have - never will. These kind of people hide behind some "board" where they NEVER have to perform or DO anything and they are a danger to the Republic.

 

McArthy in House 103

Alexander McArthy started a campaign committee to run for House 103 as a Republican.  McArthy is an alderman in the city of Cottleville.  This would be a primary as John Wiemann, also a Republican, has started a campaign committee.  The current incumbent, Doug Funderburk, is termed.

See McArthy’s website here.

MEC Fines Firefighters Local 73

St. Louis Firefighters Local 73 PAC was fined $1,100 by the Missouri Ethics Commission for a failure to file a 24-hour report, and an inaccurate disclaimer on a sign.  See it here.

St. Louis Bits

The Beacon reports that Councilman Steve Stenger will announce his primary challenge to St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley on Tuesday.  See it here.

Governor Jay Nixon appointed Mavis T. Thompson the new St. Louis City License Collector, ending months of jockeying.  But the knives are already out from St. Louis aldermen and women… should be an interesting primary next summer…

$5K+Contributions

Committee for Research Treatments and Cures - $10,000 from St. Lukes Health System.

Citizens for Responsible Research - $55,000 from Brad Bradshaw.

Lobbyist Registrations

From the Pelopidas website:

 

Shannon Weber deleted Hartnett Gladney Hetterman LLC; and added Missouri AFL CIO.

Charles Mark Palmer deleted Woodhaven Learning Center.

Birthdays

Happy birthdays to Reps. Jeremy LaFaver (34) and Casey Guernsey (33).