Archive for Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Contract decision questionable

September 16, 2009

To the editor:

Leavenworth County residents should be angry and willing to speak out over the recent refusal of the Leavenworth County Extension Council Executive Board to renew the contract of Beth Hecht, Leavenworth County Extension agent. Beth’s exemplary 15-year service record was apparently not what this decision was based on. Many 4-H families whose children have benefited greatly from the programs Beth has nurtured know what a terribly negative impact this decision is already having on the 4-H program in Leavenworth County.

When the executive board voted not to renew Ms. Hecht’s Contract in July, they already knew the State of Kansas had been under a hiring freeze for several months. With no end in sight for this hiring freeze, that means that any new agent the county secures will have to be transferred from another Kansas county, in other words, stolen from another county, leaving that county without an agent! This shows great irresponsibility and ignorance on the part of the executive board. By not renewing Ms. Hecht’s contract, the council also lost funding given to the county through the K-State Extension Office and Military Grant Money, which allows the extension office to work with Military 4-H kids temporarily assigned to Fort Riley. The impact on Leavenworth County kids is already being felt in a big way, starting at the county fair when news of this decision first began to circulate. The impact will continue to be felt as the strong 4-H program in Leavenworth County continues to crumble away.

In support of Ms. Hecht, K-State placed her on administrative leave until her contract expires in early December. Leavenworth County residents must act quickly to put pressure on the executive board to reinstate Ms. Hecht before early December or Leavenworth County 4-H will suffer a terrible and unnecessary setback. The next monthly meeting of the executive board is 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 5, in the Leavenworth County Extension Office. Be there.

Martha Heimbaugh,

4-H arts and crafts fair superintendent

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