ken alstott santa cruz county fair board meeting
Ken Alstott (standing), interim CEO for the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds, addresses budget issues Tuesday during a Fair Board meeting. Photo: Tarmo Hannula/The Pajaronian

The Santa Cruz County Fair Board reported on Tuesday that there are four candidates for CEO to replace former fairgrounds manager Dave Kegebein. 

The board noted the CEO applications have been reviewed and the candidates have gone through an initial interview process. The candidates are expected to be interviewed again before the board can come to a final decision.

The search for a new CEO comes after Kegebein was fired on Oct. 4 in a 7-2 vote. 

Soon after Kegebein’s termination, the dissenting directors, Loretta Estrada and Jody Belgard, were fired via a phone call from Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office. They were not given a reason for their termination. 

Former board chair Don Dietrich and interim fairgrounds manager Kelley Ferreira resigned in April. 

Newsom’s office in October appointed Nick Calubaquib and Rachel Wells to replace Estrada and Belgard as board members. 

In other action Tuesday, the board moved to appoint a new chair and vice chair. 

By unanimous vote, Board Director Michael Pruger was appointed to chair of the board and in another unanimous vote, Wells was elected to vice chair. 

With around 50 community members in attendance, the meeting garnered little public comment about the board appointments and CEO search, in contrast from previous meetings where dozens spoke in often heated exchanges. 

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  1. With respect to the latest article on Fair Board (5/26/23), who are the CEO candidates and where are they from. The article was short on that information.

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  2. Weird how the Pajaronian doesn’t mention who the canidates are….
    Is there someone we shouldn’t know about???

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