by Jennifer McCormick
At a Commissioner’s meeting on October 2nd, Dewey County Commissioners declined a request for additional funding by Oklahoma State University’s Cooperative Extension Service for the fiscal year July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2018.
At the meeting Dr. Thomas Coon, Vice President of OSU’s Division of Ag Sciences said the number of full time extension agents at Dewey County would be reduced if a “contractual service fee” or increase in funding was not provided by Dewey County.
Dewey County has allotted approximately $30,000 for maintenance and operations of the Dewey County Extension Office in the past and OSU has provided or paid two extension educators, currently Mike Weber and Jean Baily. Without the additional funding, Coon stated the Dewey County office would drop to one and one half educators.
On October 4th, I contacted the Western District Extension Director, Dee Cooper to ask what if any action had been taken regarding personnel at Dewey County. At that time, Cooper said it would be a couple of weeks before any information was available. On October 20th Cooper was out of the office. On October 25th, Cooper said “I really cannot comment on any personnel actions in Dewey County.”
On October 25th, a call to the Dewey County Extension Office was met with the same response, Extension Agent Mike Weber said, “I cannot comment at this time.”
On October 25th, I contacted Dr. Tom Coon’s office at Oklahoma State University to ask what action had been taken regarding personnel in Dewey County. On the 26th, James Trapp an Associate Director of Extension Services responded by phone saying, “We will reduce staff in Dewey County by the end of the year. We are still considering alternatives.”
On October 27th, I contacted Extension Agent, Jean Bailey. Bailey said, “I was notified Tuesday afternoon (the 24th) by the District Director my services will be terminated at the Dewey County Office.” It appears only one person is willing to say what is going on at the Dewey County Extension Office, and that person will be terminated.