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      AP Interview: Mo. ag. director defends departure

      The former director of the Missouri Department of Agriculture is denying allegations that he created a hostile workplace.

      The former director of the Missouri Department of Agriculture is denying allegations that he created a hostile workplace.

      Jon Hagler was replaced as agriculture chief Oct. 11 by Gov. Jay Nixon and until now has remained silent about the reasons.

      His departure came a day after a former employee distributed a letter alleging Hagler created a workplace of "hostility, disrespect, intimidation and fear."

      Hagler sat down for an extended interview this weekend with The Associated Press. He described himself as a tough manager who expected a lot from employees -- but wasn't hostile.

      Hagler says he told Nixon's staff he was ready to leave and planned to interview for a university job. He says the timing of the employee's allegations and his departure was mere coincidence.

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