WICHITA — Joe Yager, CEO of the Regional Economic Area Partnership, has been placed on administrative leave following what he says was an inadvertent forwarding of an e-mail that was soliciting sex.
“A situation, a personnel matter, has been brought to the university’s attention, and it is being investigated as we speak,” says Ted Ayres, vice president and general counsel for Wichita State University.
WSU’s Hugo Wall School of Urban and Public Affairs has a contractual relationship with REAP to provide consultation and staff support.
On Tuesday, Have You Heard? reported that Yager forwarded a release from the state water office to members of REAP’s water committee that contained several lines of a sexual nature amid otherwise mundane news of a forthcoming meeting in Hutchinson. Yager says he accidentally copied and pasted the sex text while trying to delete it.
“It’s one of those situations that we take seriously,” Ayres says. “Certainly the interest of all concerned, including the employee, must be considered.”
“It’s my understanding that just to facilitate the situation, our office and human resources did place him on administrative leave this morning,” Ayres says of Yager.
Misty Bruckner, associate director of the Center for Urban Studies at the Hugo Wall School, is temporarily replacing Yager.
“I am just handling contacts for a few days,” she says.
Yager didn’t return a call for comment.
Ayres wouldn’t comment further on Yager’s leave except to say he’s gone for now.
“Joe’s an employee of WSU, and they’re following a procedure,” says County Commissioner Dave Unruh, who also is chairman of REAP. “They have to try to get to the bottom of all this.”
Unruh says Bruckner is “just kind of standing in the gap there a little bit till this gets sorted out.”
He says he hopes that’s soon.
“I have had a great relationship with Joe, and he has done a great job for REAP.”