Two individuals addressed a major issue with the 4-H program in Marshall County during the public comment portion of the County Commissioner’s meeting on Monday. 

Angie Smith who lives on 18B Road in Argos said, “4-H has been a long-standing tradition in Marshall County for many generations.” She said Marshall County does not have a 4-H educator on staff, and the programming is slipping and if not addressed it could fail. She said volunteers, leaders, and various committees such as the Marshall County 4-H Council and support staff have become frustrated, angry, and overwhelmed.

Smith, who was an educator with Purdue Extension in Marshall County said the county has a contractual agreement with Purdue to provide a 4-H educator but since that hasn’t happened for almost 2 years, she asked the commissioners to modify the contract from Purdue and not pay for services the county isn’t receiving.  

Tonya Lemler from Tippecanoe brought her concerns about the Extension contract to the Commissioners too.  She’s been involved with the Marshall County 4-H program for 18 years, a leader for 8 years, served on the 4-H Council for 8 years, and is in her 4th year as secretary on the executive board.  

Lemler wanted to brag about the fantastic kids participating in the 4-H program in Marshall County and seek the commissioner’s help and support for the kids.  She told the commissioners the 4-H program has the “potential” to offer many benefits to the kids including character traits and life and education offerings which are invaluable. 

Lemler is concerned that the County is not getting what it is paying to Purdue.  She suggested the commissioner use the money that is in the contract to provide a 4-H educator in other ways to better help the kids.

At that point in the conversation, County Attorney Jim Clevenger said, “The extension contract requires them to provide personnel for 4-H programming and development.”  He told the two commissioners in attendance, Stan Klotz and Mike Burroughs, that if a contract is approved for 2024, notice should be sent informing Purdue that the county isn’t receiving all the services it is paying for. 

Under Commissioners Items, the agreement for 2024 extension services was up for consideration.  Commissioner Klotz said state Statute requires the county to contract for extension services.  He asked the county attorney what the recourse was for the county Purdue isn’t fulfilling the service details in the agreement. 

Attorney Jim Clevenger said the county may be able to ask for some of their money back.  He said the contract clearly details providing a 4-H educator. 

This issue has also been discussed at the last two County Council meetings. 

Commissioner Mike Burroughs motioned to table the 2024 contract until the county commissioners are informed on how the contractual obligations are going to be fulfilled. 

The commissioners will bring the topic up at their January 2nd meeting.