Whitesburg KY

4 of 6 board members quit extension service

Four of six members of the Board of Directors of the Letcher County Cooperative Extension Taxing District have submitted resignation letters within the last week.

Dock Frazier, chairman of the district board, said he received the letters during the holidays and hasn’t had time to ask the departing board members why they decided to resign.

Frazier said two of the board members, Truman Halcomb of Jeremiah and Diann Watts of Cumberland

River, were ending three-years terms and their names were not being submitted for re-appointment to another three-year term.

The Letcher County Extension Council, which recommends names of citizens for Letcher County Judge/ Executive Jim Ward to appoint to the district board, chose not to recommend Watts and Halcomb for new terms. Instead, the council, which is made up of members from the 4-H council, the agriculture council and the family consumer science council, voted at an October 4 meeting to recommend that Ward choose from the names of Liberty Campbell, Chris Caudill, Harry Collins and Sonja West.

Frazier said Watts and Halcomb submitted letters of resignation as a sign of protest since their terms were already coming to an end. Frazier said two other board members, Howard Stanfield of Blackey and Kathy Napier of Whitesburg, apparently mailed resignation letters because they were not happy that Watts and Halcomb weren’t recommended to serve a second term.

Frazier and Ruth Shackleford are the only two board members who didn’t submit resignation letters.

Ward said he hasn’t received any recommendations from the council and hasn’t officially been contacted about the situation.

Shackleford and Napier would not comment on the matter. Halcomb, Stanfield and Watts could not be reached.

The extension district board sets the extension office’s budget and serves as the tax-collecting arm for the Letcher County Extension Taxing District.

According to Jason Brashear, Letcher County agent for 4-H and youth development, the extension office is a cooperation between federal, state and local dollars and the University of Kentucky and Kentucky State University to disperse research to the public. Brashear said agents at the extension office answer a wide range of questions concerning daily living. How to deal with mold, proper way to plant blueberry bushes and child behavior questions are examples of topics people call about.

“All the research the university does we have to hand out,” said Brashear.

Three extension agents, who are paid by UK, are on hand to answer questions and facilitate programs. Ann Bradley is the agent for family consumer science and Shad Baker is the agent for agriculture. Brashear coordinates the county 4-H program.

In 2010, the extension service collected $395,810 in operating revenue from taxes it collects on real estate, personal property and motor vehicles.

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