Sunday, March 19, 2023

Duffy Tapped as Interim Fair GM

Posted By and on Sun, Mar 19, 2023 at 3:07 PM

click to enlarge Jill Duffy
  • Jill Duffy
The Humboldt County Fair Association is under new — if temporary — leadership. The association board voted March 13 to approve the hire of retired Humboldt Waste Management Authority Executive Director and former county Fifth District Supervisor Jill Duffy as the association’s interim general manager.

Duffy officially started the job March 15, succeeding Rich Silacci, who held the role for a little more than a year before stepping down Jan. 31. Duffy’s job description was approved unanimously by the board. She’ll be working four days a week for the association, at an annual salary of $80,000.

“We are very pleased that Ms. Duffy has agreed to step into the association and provide organizational leadership and recruitment assistance as we search for a permanent general manager,” Board President Andy Titus said in a press release. “Our board is confident that she will be an excellent leader for the organization.”

Duffy will be responsible for promoting and preparing for the annual fair, which includes the junior livestock auction, horse racing, fair and exhibits, as well as year-round management of the association’s business and events.

"This has been a really amazing organization, as I’ve told you in the past,” Duffy told The Enterprise. “I’m so pleased to have this opportunity to get things back on the rails."

While officially slated to start March 15, she said she got to work a bit earlier, prompted by the severe winter storms battering the North Coast, and was in touch with county Public Works Director Tom Mattson and Ferndale City Manager Jay Parrish about using the fairgrounds as an evacuation site, if necessary.


The association board has begun discussing and researching the hiring process for a permanent general manager but has yet to post the position, and the executive committee had discussed board members fulfilling the function of the general manager in the interim, though some felt that was too heavy a responsibility for them to take on.

Duffy steps into an organization in transition, as it works to overhaul its financial safeguards in the wake of alleged embezzlement by its former bookkeeper, Nina Tafarella, and get a clear picture of its finances. (Tafarella has not been charged with a crime in the case, which is being investigated by the FBI, according to officials.)

Meanwhile, with the fair just about five months away, the California Horse Racing Board had yet to decide racing dates for the fair, as The Enterprise went to press.

Nonetheless, Duffy indicated she’s excited for the opportunity.

“The fair is an amazing community experience where one can find a little something for everyone, whether the animal exhibits to the junior livestock auction, exhibits, carnival rides, entertainment venues and our horse racing,” she said in the release.
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Thadeus Greenson

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Thadeus Greenson is the news editor of the North Coast Journal.
Linda Stansberry

Linda Stansberry

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Linda Stansberry was a staff writer of the North Coast Journal from 2015 to 2018. She is a frequent contributor the the Journal and our other publications.

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