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Commissioners, Extension clash over secretary

County denies request for new employee

January 23, 2013
The Crawford County Board of Commissioners, meeting in special session Jan. 3 at the judicial complex in English, denied a request from the Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service for a new secretary, saying the position is already filled.

Tammy Taylor-DeWeese, who has been the secretary for the past 12 years, recently was put under the direction of Emergency Management Agency Director Larry Allen after Extension personnel complained about Taylor-DeWeese.

Under the arrangement, Taylor-DeWeese, who is a county employee, still would have completed Extension-related duties. However, instead of Extension personnel giving her tasks directly, they would have gone through Allen, whose office is in the same building.

However, after they said they were told by Extension personnel that there wasn't any work for Taylor-DeWeese, the commissioners moved her to the judicial complex, where she was to work as a floater until being assigned to Allen's department.

"I would prefer a different secretary given the information that I provided to you and to the attorney," County Extension Director Carol Judd told the commissioners.

"We understand that," District 3 Commissioner Jim Schultz said, "but see that there were issues with that, and, you know, (Taylor-DeWeese) is in the position. The only reason we put her under (Allen's) direction is because of the conflict there within the office. I mean, she is the Extension secretary. That is her position."

Jim Taylor, a member of the county council and Taylor-DeWeese's father, echoed Schultz, likening the process of filling the secretary's position to that of how Purdue filled those of the Extension educators last summer.

"Purdue gives us educators," he said. "They didn't send us the ones that the Extension board voted in so far; they sent you down here. So, our job is to give you a secretary. We give you a secretary, and maybe it's not the one that you particularly wanted, but it's the one you got. So, you've got to work with her or do without."

Judd said she understands that, but added that "the selection for the (Extension) agent was not a county determination, nor has it ever been."

"It was the determination of the Extension board, which is a representative of your county, and also Purdue-elected officials," she continued. "It's not your determination to do that, so whether you believe that I should be here or not is irrelevant to this conversation.

"What we currently are discussing is the need for a secretary," Judd said. "The appropriate paperwork has been filed with your attorney and with Purdue, and we have deemed that it is not an appropriate position for (Taylor-DeWeese). And you have spoken now of repositioning her as needed in the county "

"Because you've told us that you didn't need her," Schultz interjected.

"I said we did not have work for her based on the information that we have provided for you," Judd responded.

"How come you have work for her now?" District 2 Commissioner Randy Gilmore, the board's president, asked.

"We have work for a secretary but not Tammy," Judd answered. "I did not ask you for Tammy back, sir."

"You had too much for her do for a while, or you said she couldn't get it all done," Gilmore said. "Then, you said you don't need a secretary position. I'm just stating the facts here. You said you did not need a secretary position; now, after the first of the year, we need the secretary position again. We're not going to sit here and argue any more on this, but it's the facts as they were stated."

Judd said the Extension office needs "a secretary that will do the job that she has been given to do, and, given the information that we have provided, she was not doing that. So, we're asking for the replacement with that secretary with one that would be able to fulfill the duties as outlined."

Judd did not elaborate as to what was the information she was referring.

The commissioners took no action.

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    same old
    February 19, 2013 | 11:17 PM

    Same old crawford county politics; ran with conflicts and solves nothing.

Barbara Shaw
Schuler Bauer
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