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County Starts Over in Search for Fair Manager

By Beacon Staff

With the Northwest Montana Fair two months away, Flathead County has started over in its search for a new fair manager.

According to interim Fair Manager Ted Dykstra Jr. and the Flathead County Human Resources Department, the initial round of applications, which garnered 45 total, did not successfully fill the open position.

The job application deadline has been extended to July 6.

The Flathead County Fair Board interviewed several candidates over the phone at a June 3 work session, but could not come to agreement about any of them, according to county Human Resource Officer Raeann Campbell.

Dykstra said the cost of living in the Flathead was a concern for a couple of the candidates. Additionally, several of the top candidates were seeking a higher salary than the $60,000 a year payment the county is currently offering.

Of the three top candidates, one was from the Flathead Valley, Dykstra said.

The county has reposted the job description, technically called Fairgrounds Operations Manager, on its website. The job is also posted on the Rocky Mountain Association of Fairs and the International Association of Fairs sites, Dykstra said, in an effort to draw candidates with optimal fair experience.

“It’s being broadcast worldwide,” Dykstra said.

Members of the fair board said little about the search for a new manager at their June 10 meeting, remarking only that they were still in the search process.

The job opened up after the county fair board decided not to renew longtime fair manager Jay Scott’s contract in February. The decision caused an outcry from a group of valley residents, who called for the entire board to resign and for Scott to be reinstated. Two members did resign; Paul Atkinson left the board immediately after the decision and Susan Munsinger left a month later.

Dykstra, a board member at the time, became the interim fair manager, leaving chairman Butch Woolard and newly appointed Joy Struble as the only board members until C.M. “Butch” Clark and Wes McAlpin were appointed last month. Clark became the board’s temporary vice-chairman at the June 10 meeting.

Scott has since sued the county and the fair board over the decision. His lawsuit accuses the county and fair board of violating his privacy rights and due process of law and presenting him in a false light to the public, among other counts.

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