Nevada County Fairgrounds stays mum about CEO | TheUnion.com

Nevada County Fairgrounds stays mum about CEO

It's a week before the Nevada County Fair and no one is talking about CEO Rea Callender.

The fairgrounds' top administrator since June 2015, Callender is on extended leave. The reason for his leave is unknown. Steve Steele, the fairgrounds board president, declined to say in an email why or when Callender left.

"Rea Callender has been placed on extended leave," Steele said in an email. "This is a confidential personnel matter and I cannot comment further."

The fairgrounds' board at its July 17 meeting scheduled a closed-door session to discuss the CEO's performance. Steele said no action was taken after that session.

Callender, who makes $117,171.84, couldn't be reached for comment. Steele declined to say if Callender's leave is paid.

According to Nikki Moore, legal counsel with the California News Publishers Association, the Nevada County Fairgrounds is subject to the public records act. It should produce personnel-related records when they concern high level officials.

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Patrick Eidman, the fairgrounds' deputy manager and acting CEO, released a brief statement Monday, saying his staff is looking forward to the fair's opening day.

Eidman on Tuesday referred all requests for information, including access to board minutes, to the state Department of Food and Agriculture's legal department.

"I don't know why they're telling you to do that," Moore said. "If they have them, they should give them to you."

The fairgrounds' board in mid-2015 named Callender CEO. He succeeded Sandy Woods, who'd served in that position since 2009.

To contact Staff Writer Alan Riquelmy, email ariquelmy@theunion.com or call 530-477-4239.