Former Missouri Department of Public Safety Director Drew Juden is criticizing Gov. Mike Parson and his replacement, former State Patrol Superintendent Sandra Karsten. Juden was fired by Parson last month as the department head. He tells Cape Girardeau television station KFVS that his dismissal signals the state is “going back to politics as usual”. Juden says Parson’s Chief of Staff, Aaron Willard, informed him the Governor’s Office was going to take his agency in a new direction.
“And he made a comment about wanting to put in their news release that I was going to be seeking opportunities elsewhere. And I said no because that’s not true. I’m not seeking opportunities elsewhere.”
Juden says Parson did not ask about any important unfinished business within the agency during their final meeting.
“The message it sent to me is that it doesn’t really matter,” Juden says. “It’s about politics. It’s about somebody I owe a favor to or a job to. And so you need to move on and make room so I can put them in there.”
Juden goes on to also make remarks about his replacement, former State Highway Patrol Superintendent Sandra Karsten.
“Sandy Karsten’s a very talented individual who did a very good job with the Highway Patrol. But, she doesn’t know anything about fire,” he says. “She doesn’t know anything about emergency management.”
When Parson took over as governor, he said publicly he would keep the cabinet former Gov. Eric Greitens put in place. Juden says Parson told all department leaders he would be meeting with them individually in the coming weeks.
Juden says that meeting never happened with him and he wondered why.
Did that ever happen?
“But after a while I realized that a lot of the public safety things that I should have attended with the governor that I would have attended with the previous governor I wasn’t invited to. I wasn’t acknowledged,” he says.
Juden says he hopes the scandals surrounded former Gov. Greitens does not tarnish his accomplishments.
“I wasn’t a part nor party to that,” Juden says. You know, it was very disappointing to me to see that occur. I think Missouri, unfortunately, missed a huge opportunity. I think in four years there could have been a lot of good accomplished.”
Regardless of how his career ended, Juden says he’s humbled by the opportunity he got to serve the entire state. Following a law enforcement career that spanned four decades, Juden says he’s disappointed, but not bitter about how it ended.
“I thought it was a good opportunity to take southeast Missouri values to Jefferson City,” he says. “Try to share them throughout the state. And make things better. I did get the opportunity to do that. And I did get the opportunity to prove some of that works. I just hope it doesn’t get undone.”
Missourinet is awaiting a response from the Governor’s Office.