St. Louis Public Radio News
7:52 pm
Thu October 15, 2009

Templeton still on leave

Jefferson City, Mo. – Mark Templeton is still on leave from his job as Missouri Department of Natural Resources Director, even though it's now been two weeks since his two-week suspension was handed down by Governor Jay Nixon.

Templeton was suspended without pay after the governor learned E. coli-contaminated beaches at the Lake of the Ozarks remained open during Memorial Day weekend, despite being told after the fact that they were closed.

"The DNR's chief was suspended because I stood in front of the Lake of the Ozarks and said 'the beaches behind me were closed'...that information was not true, and as I've said in the past, the lack of institutional control to bring that sort of information to me, at least, and to him was unacceptable," Nixon said.

Nixon also said that he's waiting on the results of a review he requested into Templeton's role in the matter.

"We want to make sure there's confidence in the Department of Natural Resources, and we want to make sure that a lot of energy that's used in this state is used to make sure we clean up not only the Lake of the Ozarks, but all the waterways of our state," Nixon said.

Templeton and the DNR have been under fire for months because the release of a report from late May that showed E. coli levels to be 19 times higher than the federal standard was delayed for one month.

Meanwhile, another DNR official has admitted to State Senate investigators that the beaches remained open because he was on vacation at the time and missed later test results.