Circuit Clerk Linda Decker could get 'appointing authority' back

Two local judges have filed paperwork seeking to restore authority that was stripped from Adair County Circuit Clerk Linda Decker in May 2013.

Associate Circuit Judges Kristie Swaim and Fred Westhoff of the 2nd Judicial Circuit filed their letter with the Circuit Court Budget Committee Tuesday.

In their letter, the two judges state that they represent a majority of the judges in the 2nd Judicial Circuit, and as such, they have authority to submit proposed revisions to the so-called "2nd Judicial Circuit Agreement for the Consolidation of the Clerical Functions of the Circuit Court of Adair County, Missouri."

Swaim and Westhoff are calling for that agreement to be reinstated in its entirety.

That would cancel an amendment that was approved last year, which took away Circuit Clerk Linda Decker's appointing authority over deputy clerks and gave that authority to Circuit Judge Russell Steele.

Judge Swaim voted against that change last year.

Judge Westhoff originally voted in favor of the change, but he has now apparently had a change of heart.

The Circuit Court Budget Committee will have the final say on this week's request from Judges Swaim and Westhoff.

The question of whether Decker or Steele had appointing authority is what prompted a current lawsuit against Steele by former Adair County Deputy Clerk Susan Gall.

Steele fired Gall at the end of October 2013.

In her lawsuit, Gall alleges Steele did not have the authority to end her employment.

Gall insists her direct supervisor was Decker, to whom she answered.

Decker tried to keep Gall as an employee of her office, but Steele trumped Deckerâ??s decision.

Gall is asking for her job back and seeking any and all lost wages related to her termination.