Fairgrounds Subcommittee

Monday, March 15, 2021 - 9:00 pm




Roy Holzer - Chairman


Chairman Holzer called this Task Force to order at 9:00 pm with the following in attendance: Clayton Barber, Archie Depo, Shaun Gillilland, Roy Holzer, Steve McNally, Jim Monty, Jay Rand, Jeff Subra, Ike Tyler, Davina Winemiller, Jim Dougan, Dan Manning, Mike Mascarenas and Dan Palmer.


Also Present: Lynn Donaldson, Becky Provost, Scott Christian and Dina Garvey


HOLZER: Alright, now we can start. I have a couple of items; the Essex County Agricultural Society asked if they could do a benefit concert on July 24th at the fairgrounds. I think we need to talk about the reopening of the fairgrounds for public use, provided, any organizations, including the Ag Society provides our County with the necessary insurance that we already require, is there any input from any of our Committee members on that?


MASCARENAS: Yeah, I think, I mean who knows if everything will be opened up by then, but everything, I think, as long as we put it out there, pending guidelines from the State Office of DOH or our local DOH in terms of a plan for COVID control.


HOLZER: And that was my response when I was contacted, as long as it means COVID protocols for crowds and you know, regardless of what the crowd sizes are, weíre going to want all the procedures in place that we all follow, right now, so we donít have any big issues. But, I think we need to slowly start turning on the spigot to reuse those facilities. So, weíll just follow the normal procedure then for people that want to use it? It that the consensus of our group?


GILLILLAND: Just two things; I think the latest on outdoor gatherings, right now, from the State, the guidance, not that I believe in it, but I think itís 200.

And then additionally, I think weíre going to, you know, the, talking to the County Attorney here, the insurance issue, theyíve got to have insurance for the events.


HOLZER: Yeah, and thatís what I said with the insurance for anything thatís out there. We want to make sure weíre covered.


MASCARENAS: In our application process, Roy.


HOLZER: Right on our website, correct?


MASCARENAS: Yeah, so hopefully they realize that and that way, and whoever, we usually operate on a first come, first served, in terms of dates and how people reserve those fairgrounds.


HOLZER: Okay, do we normally just coordinate that through Lynn Donaldson?


MASCARENAS: Thatís correct, yeah.




MASCARENAS: Yes, through them and whatever they may need in terms of DPW help, but maybe this Facilities Coordinator will be around by then.


HOLZER: Letís hope so. Alright, so weíll move ahead on that and weíll set some kind of timeline when we want to reopen those facilities.

The next thing was actually the job opening and is Jim here?


DOUGAN: Yup, Iím here. Iím just listening quietly.


HOLZER: Would you like to speak to the coordinator position that we advertised? How many applicants we got? What the procedure will be going forward?


DOUGAN: We received six new applications that were qualified by the Personnel Department. About a year ago, we had advertised that position and there were five applicants at that time, and four of those, four of the five from last year are still interested. So, altogether we have ten applicants who are interested. So, I will be getting those applications from Personnel in the next few days and will begin the process of setting up interviews. Iíve asked Mr. Mascarenas to be part of my interview team on that thus far.


HOLZER: Okay and does Dan Palmer sit in on that with you, too?


DOUGAN: Thatís up to Dan, usually positions in my department are just, fall under myself or my own staff, but as this oneís a little bit different, I at least asked the Deputy County Manager, Mike to sit in. Thatíll be up to him, and Dan if theyíd like to sit in.


HOLZER: Okay, Jim, one final thing. I trust your judgment, but could you send me a copy of the applicants?


DOUGAN: Yeah, sure. Once, once I see them, Iíll share them with you as the Fairgrounds Committee Chair, sure.


HOLZER: Okay, and one final thing. Does Personnel go through all the qualifications to make sure youíre weeding out people that arenít qualified for this position?


HOLZER: Yeah, thatís what I meant when I said that Personnel had qualified people, they at least meet the minimum requirements for education or experience before sending them along to me.


HOLZER: Okay, so what kind of timeline would we be looking at in the best case scenario to get this position filled?


DOUGAN: A position like this, I would, Iím going to try and schedule the, all of the first round interviews in, in the next couple of weeks, depending upon availability of both myself and those applicants and then, as we have ten, I would probably weed it down to two or three that I may like to have a second interview with. So, that process, I would say, is going to be three weeks to a month and then weíll select a candidate. Theyíll have to go through the pre-employment physicals and everything, that usually takes two to three weeks. So, right now, I would project around May 1st is very possible, to, you know, have the candidate in, you know, sitting at a desk, somewhere here at Essex County.


HOLZER: Okay, does anyone else have any questions for Jim on this position?


DOUGAN: I think Mike sent out the qualifications for the position as it was advertised, just if anyone on the committee wants to be familiar with what those are.

As we talked before, we, as we interview candidates, we will start to develop more specific goals rather than the general job title guidelines, once we have the person in place.


HOLZER: Sounds, good. Thank you Jim.

Jim, do we have a project list out there, like a priority list for fairground facilities? Like in the best case scenario, works, what buildings, what things weíd want to tackle; if we had an influx of cash?


DOUGAN: Well, I wouldnít say itís out there. I have an internal document that my engineering staff and I have been working on, itís a document that I call, you know, itís an asset management program, basically, that weíre building from scratch, where we, we list our different buildings and the major upcoming projects that are on the list; for example, Iím projecting a painting project for Floral Hall next year, as something that we should do. We invested a lot of money in that building, ten years ago. But, I can get a list specifically for the fairgrounds of what I see, at least, out to this committee or to the Buildings and Facilities Committee.


HOLZER: Yeah, I would like that. Also, maybe an opportunity for a few members of this Task Force to actually do a field trip out there and maybe offer some input on that asset management list. I definitely want to see us do a few more things for curb appeal by the main road there.




HOLZER: You okay with that?


DOUGAN: Oh, absolutely, sure.


HOLZER: Any questions for Jim on that?


TYLER: Where is the fairgrounds located? I just want to make sure all the Supervisors, that I am seeing in this picture and some that arenít, should come down and take a tour of that facility, anyway.


HOLZER: Yeah, I think itíd be good to get reacquainted with it, especially guys from my end of the county.


TYLER: Jay probably hasnít been there since the Ď60ís when they had the midget car races.


HOLZER: Scott, I see youíre online here, from the Essex County Agricultural Society. How are you doing with your grants through Community Resources?


CHRISTIAN: We have to, weíre still waiting on our insurance binder, from our insurance company. We got some quotes out there. Everybodyís really cautious on quoting insurance for big events, like that, because of COVID. So, we switched gears and just tried to get an insurance policy for covering our meetings, you know, our organization. So, thatís where we are right now, weíre just waiting on that.


HOLZER: Okay, and did you follow up with Lynn Donaldson? Because thereís some concerns. One of the grantsÖ


CHRISTIAN: Yeah, we have until the end of the month. So, I havenít emailed her back, I was going to try to.


HOLZER: Yeah, because that partís definitely on you guys. Weíve done everything.




HOLZER: Just so you know, weíve done everything on our end.




HOLZER: We just, prior to you attending the meeting today, we did okay using the facilities. Weíve just got to follow all the normal procedure of the online event form and we need insurance. So, the July 24th, youíd be fine, provided all those, those things are met; okay?




HOLZER: Thank you. Do you have any questions for this committee?


PALMER: Roy, we have Dan Manning.


MANNING: Scott, we received a signed contract, but we didnít get your insurance binder. So, I mean the binder, weíre going to need for events.


CHRISTIAN: Yes, I realize that.


MANNING: And your workersí comp, also.




MANNING: Okay, I just wanted to make sure weíre clear.


HOLZER: Thank you and again any help you need on, with those grants, just let us know, but right now, I think the ballís in your, the Agricultural Societyís side of the court.


CHRISTIAN: Oh, yeah, definitely, we realize that.


HOLZER: Thatís pretty much all I had for this meeting, today. Is there anything else that anybody wanted to talk about, regarding the fairgrounds?




HOLZER: Well, hello, Lynn.


DONALDSON: How do you want me to proceed at this point. Because I did get other contacts from people that want to have events out there. So, are we saying that itís open at this point and I can take that message off of the website?


HOLZER: Why donít we pick, when do you normally start utilizing those fairgrounds? Because clearly, I donít want something out there two weeks from now when weíre not ready. When do you normally start opening it back up, Lynn?


DONALDSON: Well, the end of April, we have Soil and Water there with their tree and shrub sale. The event Iím looking at is June 5th.


HOLZER: We should be fine with that. Did you hear when we were discussing the protocol for using the facility?


DONALDSON: Yeah, 20 max.


HOLZER: Yeah and following the COVID guidelines and filling out the paperwork thatís on our website and all the other documentation that we currently require.




HOLZER: Just as a, my own personal interest, Lynn, could you make sure I get copies of all the events weíre doing out there? Iíd kind of like to, maybe, make a few trips out there when theyíre doing activities.




HOLZER: Iíd appreciate that. Thank you


DONALDSON: Thank you


MASCARENAS: Lynn, do you have a date, by any chance, when the boats and cars and those types of things have to be out by?


DONALDSON: We tell them April 30th. So, itís right around that time, that day. They try and get them out, some people arenít back from Florida by then.




DOUGAN: And itís typically late April that I start the process of getting the water turned back on and coordinating that approval from the Department of Health.


HOLZER: Okay, okay.

Alright, anything else, guys?


CHRISTIAN: I do have one last thing, Roy. For your information, the week of May 18th, I will be going to York, Pennsylvania for a conference, IFE and that stands for International Fairs and Festivals, on reopening fairgrounds. That is the topic, so Iíll have a lot of good information about what theyíre doing, what other fairs are doing across the country to open back up.


HOLZER: Okay, well, keep us posted, that will be interesting.

Weíre adjourned.






Respectively Submitted,




Dina Garvey, Deputy Clerk

Board of Supervisors