County fair CEO announces resignation

Donnette Carter

The head of the county fair has announced her resignation taking effect in November, and the district’s board has appointed an interim CEO, according to a statement released Monday.

According to that statement:

The Board of Directors of the 33rd District Agricultural Association, San Benito County Fair has announced the impending resignation of CEO/Fair Manager Donnette Silva Carter. At a special meeting of the board on Oct. 5, directors took action to accept Carter’s resignation effective in mid-November. During the meeting, they also appointed Dara Tobias as the Interim CEO/Fair Manager.

Carter has been employed with the 33rd DAA for over two years during which time she successfully worked with the Board, and partnering SBC Heritage Foundation, to implement a plan of action to increase revenue and facility interim event activity, address the challenges of state deferred maintenance, develop and implement organizational infrastructure, oversee grounds improvements, and strategize for future sustainability. The organization was recently notified that the San Benito County Fair was removed from the California Fairs Watch List due to its new financial status and other achievements.

Addressing her departure, Carter commented, “It is indeed with a sad and heavy heart that I resign my position. My husband and I have family obligations that require us to return to the Central Valley. I truly have enjoyed my residence in this wonderful gem of a community, and it’s been my honor to have served as CEO and Fair manager. I sincerely believe I leave the organization on firmer ground thanks to the collaborative efforts of many, and it is in great hands with the appointment of Dara to succeed me. Bolado Park and the Fair are near and dear to her heart, and I am excited to see where she and the Board take the 33rd in the future. I thank everyone who has supported me and the 33rd DAA during my tenure.”

Board President Dara Tobias was asked by directors to accept the one-year interim appointment to the CEO position in light of Carter’s resignation. Tobias has a lifelong affiliation with the San Benito County Fair including employment with the organization for eight fair seasons in the entry office including serving the role of entry manager. She has been on the Board of Directors for two years by appointment of Governor Jerry Brown. In order to accept the management position, Tobias has resigned from the Board. Tobias is a 5th generation resident of San Benito County and has been actively involved as a volunteer not only with the fair, but entities such as E Cubed Foundation, Tres Pinos Parents Club, and San Benito Babe Ruth. She and her husband Tom have three sons. Tobias will leave her position at Bianchi, Kasavan & Pope later this month with her employment at the 33rd DAA commencing October 31st.

33rd DAA director Anne Hall will move from the role of Board Vice President to that of President effective immediately. In commenting about the change of staff leadership, Hall noted that the Board appreciates Carter’s efforts and thanks her for the enthusiasm and talent she brought to the organization. She added the Board is excited at the appointment of Tobias and confident the transition will be seamless given her experience with the 33rd DAA.

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