By Jordan Shapiro
Gov. Jay Nixon’s office announced on Oct. 11 that Agriculture Department Director Jon Hagler would be leaving his post effective immediately.
Nixon’s statement offered no explanation. Hagler refused to be interviewed. Nixon’s office did not immediately return phone calls to provide an explanation.
A day earlier a top official in Hagler’s office sent an email note to a number of people announcing her early retirement because of “an environment of hostility” in the department.
Hagler had been the state’s top agriculture official since Nixon took office in 2009. Nixon praised Hagler in a statement announcing his departure.
Harry Bozoian was named acting director of the Agriculture Department. Bozoian worked in the Attorney General’s Office from 1993-2008 when Nixon served in that post.
Nixon’s statement said Hagler would remain in the department to help with the transition until Oct. 31.
“Harry’s leadership and experience, along with his thorough understanding of the issues facing rural Missouri, will ensure that the Missouri Department of Agriculture continues to provide excellent service to the farm families which are the bedrock of our economy,” Nixon said in the written statement.