Adair County Courthouse clash continues

Adair County, Mo. Courthouse

Tensions remain high inside the Adair County Courthouse as the battle ­­­­­­­between Circuit Judge Russell Steele and Circuit Clerk Linda Decker continues to fester.

The tension between the two public officials first came to light with

comments Decker made at the "State of the Judiciary"

event last month.

At that time, Decker said Steele is not open to her opinions and thoughts, adding it is hard to have a positive attitude because of the turmoil she said Steele had caused.

Judge Steele told KTVO at the same event that he understands the impact some of his decisions have on people, and he said he is willing to work with Decker.

KTVO has obtained a copy of an

email sent from Steele to both Decker and Associate Circuit Judge Kristie Swaim


In that email, Steele states Decker has "engaged in conduct and behavior detrimental and injurious to the administration of justice."

Steele also attached an agreement to the email that would amend a previous agreement concerning the consolidation of the clerical functions of the circuit court.

Recently, clerk offices of the Associate Circuit Court and Circuit Court were consolidated across much of the state.

The agreement, if signed by Decker and Swaim, would in effect, give Steele complete control over the Circuit Clerk's Office.

KTVO has confirmed that a mediator from the Missouri Office of State Courts Administration will mediate between the sides at a meeting scheduled for Friday.

We contacted Linda Decker, who told us she prefers not to comment before the meeting with the mediator.

Steele returned our call Thursday evening. He told KTVO, "It's an internal matter that doesn't belong in the media."

The judge also wanted to make it clear that he is not the one who provided KTVO with his email that he sent to Decker and Swaim.

Messages left for Associate Judge Kristie Swaim were not returned.