From the pages of
Sublette Examiner
Volume 4, Number 28 - October 7, 2004
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

Commission to hire fairgrounds manager
Fair board will focus on fair
by Cat Urbigkit

Sublette County Commissioners met Tuesday in Pinedale, with reorganization of responsibilities at the county fairgrounds once again a major topic of discussion.

Steve James of the Sublette County Fair Board approached the commission with the board’s first draft of a fairgrounds caretaker job description and occupancy agreement for the new modular home being offered as a job incentive.

Commission Chairman Gordon Johnston said he still feels that the county needs a fairgrounds manager to answer to the county commission, similar to other department heads, such as the road and landfill supervisors.

Commissioner Betty Fear said she has received feedback from members of the public indicating support for the commission’s proposal.

James said he has a strong feeling that if the commission implements its proposal, it will be even harder to get fair board members, but Fear expressed her disagreement with this view, further adding that the fair board may need to go back to five members instead of seven anyway.

While James advocated that the county let the fair board move forward with its caretaker position and see how that process would work, Johnston said in his view, the needed position will be more involved, including taking on management items as well.

James requested the commission meet with the entire fair board before moving forward, but the commission noted fair board members have been at the last few commission meetings while this item was being discussed.

James said some of the fair board members wonder if they would even be needed under the commission’s proposal. Fear said by statute, the fair board is charged with hosting a fair.

Fear said she really wants to move forward on the fairgrounds manager position. She noted that she feels the grounds are not being taken care of in an appropriate manner. Fear added that she doesn’t blame the fair board, because fair board members “put in countless hours putting on the fair,” but these other issues need to be taken care of by someone else.

Fear suggested the commission move forward by advertising for applications for the fairgrounds manager position, reportable to the county commission.

Johnston agreed: “Let’s do it, now.”

Commissioner Bill Cramer said in his view, the commission was discussing an action that was above and beyond the scope of what it had talked about in the past, indicating his preference would be to hire a fairgrounds maintenance person instead.

When his fellow commissioners disagreed, Cramer washed his hands of the issue, telling the other commissioners to decide.

James said that he believed this is one case in which the elected officials “aren’t really listening to the public.”

Johnston responded that the commission was simply listening to other members of the public.

Johnston said: “I think the dye is cast, Steve. We’re going to advertise for a manager.”

Johnston expressed his sincere gratitude to James for his efforts and the position he set forth to the commission, but noted the commission disagreed with that view.

“There is going to be a transition period of course,” Johnston said, and that transition period may be uncomfortable. But once that period of adjustment is over, “then the fair board can look at the fair,” Johnston said.

The commission agreed to begin seeking applications for the fairgrounds manager position.

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