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      Swaim, Decker react to courthouse changes

      An ongoing controversy at the Adair County Courthouse may now be resolved.

      The judges of Missouri's Second Judicial Circuit, which includes Adair, Knox, and Lewis Counties, voted Tuesday night to transfer the appointing authority in the Adair County Circuit Clerk's Office from Presiding Judge Russell Steele to Judge Kristie Swaim. The appointing authority has been the center of a year-long dispute.

      That dispute resulted in Circuit Clerk Linda Decker's authority over Deputy Clerks being taken over by Steele in May of last year. Now, that power has been transferred to Swaim. In a unanimous vote, the judges determined that the change is in the best interest of all court personnel.

      "The Clerks feel confident and respect Judge Swaim as I do, and I am very aware that Judge Swaim will not use the same type of intimidation and threatening tactics that we have been unfortunately subjected to for the past almost one year," said Linda Decker, Adair County Circuit Clerk.

      Judge Swaim told KTVO she's hoping this latest change will boost morale in the Adair County Circuit Clerk's Office. She says she'll be communicating with Decker and the Deputy Clerks on a daily basis.

      "Without that coorporation and communication it made a very stressful and unhealthy working environment for everyone here, and so our goal is to open those lines of communication and cooperation back up," said Judge Kristie Swaim, of the Adair County Associate Circuit Court.

      Appointing authority means Swaim has the power to hire, fire, and discipline office employees. Any other changes of power in the Adair County Circuit Clerk's Office must be voted on by all judges in the Second Circuit.

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      Adair County Associate Judge Swaim gets power over Deputy Circuit Clerks