By Lyndsie Kiebert-Carey
The Bonner County Fair Board met for its regular business meeting Nov. 8, receiving updates from departments and, more than anything, establishing footing around certain operating procedures after the death of Fair Director Darcey Smith earlier this month.
Bonner County Commissioner Dan McDonald shared news of Smith’s unexpected passing at the commissioners’ meeting on Nov. 1.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to her husband and her two children,” McDonald said after a moment of silence, “and all of our Bonner County family.”
Smith became fair director in 2018 after six years as an administrative specialist in the commissioners’ office.
“In everything she did, she put 100% of her effort in to make it the best it could be,” Fairgrounds Administrative Assistant Maranda Montgomery posted to the fair’s Facebook page following Smith’s passing. “In the short time that Darcey was the Bonner County Fairgrounds Director she has accomplished so much and grew our Fair to a new peak. She was always thinking of ways to better the fairgrounds and expand it so it could continue to excel and grow.”
Smith’s impact was felt during the Nov. 8 board meeting, which saw the unprecedented attendance of commissioners’ office Operations Manager Jessi Reinbold and Bonner County Deputy Prosecutor Bill Wilson. For Reinbold’s part, she said she’d been invited to the meeting to help with some “basic housekeeping items” — of which there proved to be several on the double-sided agenda.
Two items were moved to executive session on the basis that personnel would need to be discussed, including choosing new signers on the fair’s bank accounts, as well as the approval of bills and account balances.
The meeting opened with public comment from Funky Junk founder Jennifer Wood and Carl Brenner, a local Boy Scout leader and Kiwanis member, who both offered their support of the fair board with upcoming events. Representatives of the local 4H program and Bonner County Rodeo both provided brief updates.
Chris Larson, head of fairgrounds maintenance, shared with the board that the door to the fair’s office had been rekeyed due to there being no record of who had keys. Due to a similar lack of records associated with the main exhibit building, Larson said he would be seeking a quote to either rekey or install keypads on that building for the various groups that use the facility.
“Is that handing out keys to others, outside of the organization? That’s tricky, working with others in the community who need access,” Wilson said.
“We do it every week, all week long,” responded Vice Chairman Jody Russell, emphasizing what a hotspot the fairgrounds is for year-round community activities.
After accounting for the fair’s debit and gas cards — noted in part as “Where are they? Reasons for this card? Do we keep this card?” on the agenda — the board began to discuss various standard operating procedures surrounding all money transactions, who is allowed behind the fair office counter, and more. Chairman Eddie Gordon noted that many of these items didn’t necessarily require votes, as policies already exist, but that maybe the board could use a “refresher.”
The board opted to schedule a workshop to revisit fair operations on Monday, Nov. 14 at 4:30 p.m. at the fair office conference room.
“I think the idea is to continue to go through all of our policies and procedures, then update and readopt those,” Russell said.
The fair board then addressed several items, on which it had already voted at previous meetings, but for which there were no minutes. These items included adopting a theme for the 2023 Bonner County Fair, which will be “MeMOOries in the Making”; approving entertainment for the 2023 fair; increasing facility use fees; approving fee schedules for fair, dry, winter and summer camping in the fairgrounds RV park; adopting a new policy for washing sheep during the fair; and, finally, voting down a measure to allow outdoor vendors at the fairgrounds’ annual Christmas Craft Fair, slated for Nov. 19-20.
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