House panel to investigate agriculture agency

A new Missouri House committee will look into allegations of a hostile work environment in the Agriculture Department.

House Speaker Tim Jones said Tuesday that he's heard from Missourians who are "deeply concerned" about the allegations against former Agriculture Director Jon Hagler. He says the new committee will be led by Rep. Casey Guernsey, a Republican from Bethany.

Gov. Jay Nixon replaced Hagler as department director Oct. 11. That was one day after a department employee distributed a resignation letter alleging Hagler created a hostile work atmosphere.

Hagler told The Associated Press he was a tough but fair manager and denied using intimidation. He described the timing of the letter and his departure as coincidence.

A Nixon spokesman says the governor tries to foster a workforce with a professional demeanor.