(La Porte County, IN) - Elected officials locally are getting a firsthand look at why many 4-H volunteers are at odds with the new leadership at Purdue Extension, causing a significant loss in volunteers.
La Porte County Commissioner Joe Haney says he got a taste of it at a Purdue Extension meeting here on Monday when members of the public were told to leave after the meeting was canceled. Haney said the meeting was in a county government-owned building, and he told the people to stay if they wished to discuss their concerns with him.
“I didn’t take too kindly by being told by someone from downstate that we had to leave our building so I told everyone they could stay if they wanted to talk,” Haney said.
Haney said the approach by Purdue Extension was “heavy-handed,” which is similar to what 4-H volunteers have described as the approach by the new leadership at Purdue Extension.
“The heavy-handedness from Purdue from their leadership has been extreme. It’s caused dozens if not, hundreds of volunteers to leave or be forced to resign and something has to change there,” Haney said.
There’s been talk of a mediator from Purdue Extension getting involved in bringing both sides together.
Haney says the situation has to be corrected because volunteers are the backbone of 4-H and the county fair.