Fair board accepts Shaw resignation, talks Jr. Fair, welcomes Neff

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GREENVILLE—The Darke County Fair Board held a regular meeting Wednesday evening to accept the resignation of Thomas Shaw, set new board members, discuss the Jr. Fair, the capital improvement grant and more. There were ten board members present.

At the very start of the meeting, board member Jim Zumbrink moved to accept Fair Board Treasurer Thomas Shaw’s resignation, which was dated Tuesday, Oct. 25.

Shaw lived in Mercer County, Ohio for over a year. While sitting on the fair board, all members are required to live within in county limits.

Board president Doug Martin read Shaw’s resignation letter.

“My past five years have been nothing but amazing,” Shaw wrote. “I would like to personally thank you and all of the current and past board members for all they’ve done for me, and to help make our fair one of the greatest in the state.”

He added in the letter that although the board agreed to allow him to finish this year until he legally became a resident of Mercer County, Shaw referenced “constant harassment and stalking” he and his family have received.

Guest Kathleen Ditmer said she was disgusted by the dishonesty of the fair board regarding the situation.

“There are ten board members that did absolutely nothing, and all knew where he was living,” she said. “Why didn’t you do something?”

Next, Jerry Marker, past fair board member and more recently, fair board election candidate, attended the meeting to enquire about filling Shaw’s now empty seat on the board.

Marker lost August’s fair board election to Dean Neff, by approximately 70 votes, and was runner-up to join the board.

Six months ago, the board accepted a motion to allow Heidi May to fill an empty board seat, as she had received the next-highest votes in the previous election.

Zumbrink moved to seat Marker. The motion failed, with members Jason Manning, May, Dave Singer, Matt Sullivan, Martin voting against it.

Marker asked the board what’d changed since May was voted to fill her vacant seat.

Martin told him that May was voted onto the board because she’d lost five times previously, and that the board debated it for some time before accepting the motion.

“My opinion is Heidi was runner-up five times in a row,” Martin said. “She lost by the flip of  coin. That’s my stance.”

Although voted in after an election herself, May told Marker she voted against the motion because her circumstances were unique.

“I ran for five years straight, and had the top five votes for the last five years,” May said. “I think that put me ahead of everybody else. I was in a unique position.”

Following the motion denial, Ditmer told the board that the seat belonged to Marker.

“I guess I’m going to have to go back to Jerry,” she said. “Tommy should not have been on this board anymore. The board seat should’ve been opened up, and the rightful owner of it I guess is Jerry Marker. You guys just sat here and there is not a bit of honesty among you.”

A few members of the board, Marla Werner and Zumbrink included, mentioned that while they heard mention of him living outside of the county, it was never proven or stated as fact.

Board member Matt Sullivan added said he doesn’t believe it was his or the other members responsibility to keep Shaw honest.

Next, the board welcomed newly-elected board member Dean Neff to the meeting at 8:42 p.m.

“I ran for fair board because I had a lot of people that wanted me to re-run,” Neff said. “So, I decided to re-run, and see what I could get done in three years.”

Later, after a bit of discussion on fair tickets, the board accepted a motion to get rid of gender-colored tickets, and instead have three ticket colors for voting, non-voting and venders.

Next, May reported that on Thursday, Oct. 13, the Jr. Fair board held their meeting, where Jr. Fair Board members discussed the late-entries made during this year’s fair.

The Jr. Fair Board created a motion to strip all premiums from exhibitors, and to suspend for one year, all adults/committee members involved. There was also a motion created to use iPads only, during all Jr. Fair shows in 2023, thus not allowing future write-ins.

Within about an hour of discussion, Manning moved to accepted the Jr. Fair motions, however there was no second, thus it failed.

The Sr. Fair Board later agreed to attend the next Jr. Fair Board meeting on Thursday, Dec. 8 to further discuss the matter.

Lastly, Werner discussed the focus committee that’s been made for the capital improvement grant.

“Our committee continues to look at what we can do looking at capital projects,” she said. “We need to move forward with what’s best for this society. This committee was formed and has met twice already.”

She added that right now, the group is doing fact-finding, and information gathering, on topics like dog barn needs, a community center, fundraisers.

At this point, she said the committee is not making any decisions at this point, and that it’s strictly board members, however she said she was open to community members joining the committee later down the line.

The Darke County Fair Board meets the first Wednesday of every month at 7:30 p.m. at 800 Sweitzer St., Greenville, Ohio, 45331, in the meeting room across from the fair office. For more information, contact the fair office at 937-548-5044.