Newly formed fair board holds first work meeting


Four of the five newly appointed members of the Big Horn County Fair Board held a work meeting with the commissioners Tuesday, Feb. 2. 

Fair board members in attendance were Tracy Haley, Kelli Mercer, Austin Layne and Thomas Bridges; Warren Adams was not able to attend. 

Also in attendance, in addition to the commissioners, were Paintrock FFA advisor Ashley Spatz, 4-H Extension Educator Gretty Gasvoda, County Treasurer Becky Lindsey, Deputy County Attorney Jennifer Kirk, County Maintenance Supervisor Jeremy Pouska and County Clerk Lori Smallwood. 

Bridges was elected as chair. Haley was elected as secretary/treasurer. The board seat terms were decided. Layne was selected for the five-year term, Haley for the four-year term; Mercer, Adams and Bridges were all selected for three-year terms. Normally, the term is five years; however, in order to not have all the seats up at once, the terms were staggered. 

Kirk shared important information regarding the bylaws including attendance at the fair and at meetings and that it is not a paid position. She also told them if they wanted to amend the by-laws on meeting dates they could. 

There was a discussion on hiring a fair manager and what the job/duties would be for that person. Sheila Paumer, the previous fair manager, recently confirmed that she no longer holds the position. 

It was established that the board would give direction to the manager. The board would be very involved in the interview and hiring of the manager. An interview panel would include the board and the commission. 

The county will be taking over the upkeep of the fairgrounds including the multi-purpose building. Pouska envisions hiring a grounds keeper whose work would include the fairgrounds. That person would then be over the seasonal workers that work before, during and after the fair on a limited basis. 

There would be direct communication between the grounds keeper and the fair manager on what needs to be done with the grounds. The maintenance budget would be under the county, not the fair board. Pouska said that one of his biggest goals would be to get some of the older buildings back into shape. 

Mercer said that this change would allow the fair manager to bring in more things to the grounds than just the fair. Commission Chair Dave Neves added that the manager should also work on getting more events throughout the year in the multipurpose building. 

Until a fair manager is hired, the county clerk’s office is the contact for those wanting to use the facilities. Smallwood suggested that the fair board, manager and grounds person should all have access to the calendar. 

It was decided that the manager position would still be full-time and receive benefits. The board members present gave input on what they wanted to add to the job description. It was also decided that the manager would be responsible for keeping their office clean but the rest of the janitorial for the buildings would fall to the grounds keeper. 

The county will start advertising for the position. The next fair board meeting will be Feb. 15, 6 p.m. at the fairground’s office. The fair is August 2-8, 2021.