The Preble County Fairgrounds lost a manager last week, but the PC Agricultural Society Board of Directors (Fair Board) accepted a new member.
After attempting it earlier in 2013, Preble County Fairgrounds Manager Duane Grimme officially resigned during the Thursday, Dec. 19, meeting of the PC Fair Board.
Following his regular monthly report to the board, Grimme read his letter of resignation, and noted it was effective immediately. Reading his letter aloud, he noted, “thanks to those who believe as I do in hard work and ethics, and are not afraid to take a stand for what is right.”
After turning in his keys, Grimme went on to tell those in attendance he was not happy with the way things were being done. “There’s too many not willing to take a stand,” he said.
He added, “Work comes along and some don’t want to show up to work,” and cited as an example work needing to be done on the sheep sales held at the fairgrounds – not more than a half dozen show up to help set up the many stalls that are needed, he said.
Grimme then left the meeting. Board member Kevin Turner moved to accept the resignation, and Mark Bruner seconded. The action passed, although not unanimously – members Dean Petry, Lori Monebrake and Ryan Grimme voted no. (Clint Stevenson and Joe Kimball were absent.)
This was the second time Grimme’s resignation was brought up this year. In an earlier meeting, Grimme claimed to have resigned, but the board either failed to recognize it, or refused to accept it.
In other action, board members accepted their 2013 election results and seated Mary Bullen to the Gasper Township seat which has been a topic of contention since the election occurred during fair week.
Board President Rodney Mann explained that Ohio fair officials were “not doing anything unless they get a formal complaint.”
The only options the state gave the fair board were: have a complete new election for all seats again at the Ag Society’s cost, or appoint Bullen to the three year term to which she was elected.
According to Fair Board Vice President Mark Bruner, the state is also requesting a letter be submitted to them from the board stating the board recognizes the error of having a “meet the candidates” event on the fairgrounds and that it won’t happen again.
The 6-4-1 vote (Turner, Kerrick Wilson, Bruner, Carole Fritz, Cathy Combs, Brad Johnson, yes; Petry, Monebrake, Joe Ferriell, Ryan Grimme, no; Christy Millhouse, abstain) will culminate with Bullen being seated in January.
Ryan Grimme questioned what would happen now if someone were to protest the results to the state. Bruner reminded him the state wouldn’t have been involved this time if someone local had not brought it to the officials’ attention.
“That’s why we have a black eye,” Bruner said. “I say we bury it and go on,” he added.
Bruner pointed out, the exact same type of meeting had been held two years previously, and no one brought it to the state’s attention then. He also noted, elected members were all guilty of having their petitions signed on the fairgrounds, which is in violation of the rules as well.
Combs moved to have all potential candidates who pull petitions for future elections receive and sign off on a sheet stating all fair board election rules. The motion passed unanimously.
In other business:
*Mann presented James Mays with the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s Fair Supporter of the Year certificate, and thanked him for all his hard work with the fair.
*Prior to leaving his position and the meeting, Duane Grimme told the board they needed to seriously think about “what’s going on in Montgomery County.” (The Montgomery County Fairgrounds recently sold and county officials there have been looking at nearby Brookville for siting the new fair venue.)
“It’s going to do nothing but hurt this fairgrounds,” Grimme warned. “Because of location, location, location. Eateries. Motels.”
Grimme noted, he had spoken to an individual who had attended the meetings with Brookville, and the city is going about their discussions with Montgomery County with “far from wide open arms.”
The Preble County Fair Board needs to be talking to Montgomery County, Grimme said, noting Preble has facilities, but lacks hotels and quality restaurants.
“It’s something to be considered,” Grimme said. He noted, “regional county fairs are probably not far off, whether you like to think about it or not.”