Metro Councilman Eric Crafton is hoping to remove and replace the Metro Board of Fair Commissioners.
A resolution set to go before the council next Tuesday would remove all five members of the board, which includes chair James Weaver and commissioners Ned Horton, Alex Joyce, Charles Sueing and Katy Varney. Approving the resolution, which Crafton is sponsoring, would require a three-fourths vote from the council.
“It’s nothing personal, but they’ve said they can’t make it work,” Crafton said, referring to the finances of the Metro-owned fairgrounds.
Mayor Karl Dean and fair board members have cited consecutive years of dwindling revenue at the 117-acre fairgrounds as reason to get out of the state fair business and move events held at the expo center to Hickory Hollow Mall in Antioch. The council is scheduled to consider a bill outlining Hickory Hollow lease agreements on the second of three votes next week.
Crafton likened the fairgrounds entity to a “company.”
“One of the main reasons the Dean administration has given to close is that it’s not successful — lost money,” Crafton said. “Well, about 75 percent of the accumulated losses over the past 10 years have occurred in the last three years.”
Weaver, appointed to the fair board by then-Mayor Bill Purcell in 2006, is carrying out a term that expires in April 2011.
“This is a decision for the council to make,” Weaver told The City Paper. “We leave this decision in their capable hands.”
Not all council members are on board with the idea. Councilman Bo Mitchell, who like Crafton represents parts of Bellevue, said removing commissioners over a disagreement with their decisions could create a “slippery slope.”
“I’m opposed to that,” Mitchell said. “We’re going to have boards make controversial decisions on a number of issues.
“Just thinking of the concept that if a board does something that the council does not like, we’re just going to get rid of the whole board,” he said. “We can’t do that.”