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   JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The former director of the Missouri Department of Agriculture is denying allegations that he created a hostile workplace.

   Jon Hagler was replaced as agriculture chief Oct. 11 by Gov. Jay Nixon and until now has remained silent about the reasons. His departure came a day after a former employee distributed a letter alleging Hagler created a workplace of "hostility, disrespect, intimidation and fear."

   Hagler sat down for an extended interview this weekend with The Associated Press. He described himself as a tough manager who expected a lot from employees - but wasn't hostile.

   Hagler says he told Nixon's staff he was ready to leave and planned to interview for a university job. He says the timing of the employee's allegations and his departure was mere coincidence.

 
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