Nine Washington County Fair Board seats open for election

November 11, 2013
Katie Roupe/Observer-Reporter A sign at the Washington County Fairgrounds

Stockholders of the Washington County Agricultural Fair will have the opportunity Tuesday evening to vote in nine new board members during their annual meeting.

On Thursday, all but two of the 11 members of the fair board resigned. Gary Sweat, attorney for the fair board, said differences in opinions and personailities led to the resignations.

“The organization evolved into a large business operation. Maybe there were new ideas on how things should be done,” Sweat said. “It is a part of the dynamics of a nonprofit organization.”

The nine board members who resigned were Bruce Grice, Chad McGowan, Vice President William McGowan, President David Cowden, Randy Naser, Treasurer Joan Chapman, Dick Horstman, Joseph Avolia and Jeffrey Lash, Sweat said.

All 11 members were contacted for comment. Several members declined comment, and the rest did not return calls.

Sweat said the decision on the resignations was made by the board as a “whole.”

“That’s how they chose to deal with their differences,” he said. “Instead of arguing. It’s a fresh start.”

Sweat said the Thursday session, which was a normally scheduled meeting for the board, had a large turnout. He believes rumors and allegations that a board member acted inappropriately toward a fair volunteer spurred the large crowd.

“No one was fired,” he said. “There were differences of philosophy, maybe personality. This was how they chose to deal with it.”

Sweat said the board was aware of the allegations, but he did not believe they had an effect on Thursday’s outcome.

“I believe it was deeper than that,” he said. “This was not in repsonse to anything. ... It was a correct action.”

Sweat believes the seats will be filled by the end of the annual stockholder meeting, which begins at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Hall Two.

Francesca Sacco joined the Observer-Reporter as a staff writer in November 2013, and covers the Washington County Courthouse and education. Prior to working with the Observer-Reporter, Francesca was a staff writer with a Gannett paper in Ohio. She graduated from Point Park University with a dual bachelor’s degree in print and broadcast journalism.

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