Park County Commissioners have parted ways with their Buildings and Grounds Superintendent Mike Garza.
Garza said when he walked into the Park County Fairgrounds office Monday morning, he was given a choice to resign or be fired. He chose to resign, which County Commissioner Dossie Overfield confirmed.
“We had a discussion about work,” she said, mentioning that the topic of work performance came up.
At the County Commissioners’ meeting on March 1, an executive session of approximately 30 minutes, which was not on the original agenda but was changed to the agenda at the start of the meeting, took place on the subject of a personnel issue. They then voted unanimously to adopt the proposal made during the executive session discussion.
As of 2019, Garza not only oversaw the operations of county buildings and grounds, but also many aspects of the county fair. In the fall of 2021, Garza was tasked to focus more on county buildings and land. Previously, he simultaneously held his current job and the position of events coordinator. He had worked for the county for 12 years.
Garza had been at odds with the board for some time, venting his frustration with the body in a recent Enterprise story.
“I don’t like being told what to do, especially by a volunteer board member who doesn’t want to do anything,” he said in this story.
At the fair’s board meeting on Tuesday, board member Fred Bronnenberg and a few other members expressed displeasure with the media presenting negative reports about the fair, some of which dated back more than five years.
Garza’s departure marks the fifth major change in Fair leadership in about six years.
There was little mention of Garza’s departure during Tuesday’s meeting, and members expressed optimism that this year’s fair will be held in four and a half months from the end of July.
Overfield said she and fellow liaison commissioner Scott Mangold would help the fair’s board and administrative assistant Darcy Street make all necessary preparations for this year’s fair. Street told the meeting that she is currently working on the Fair Book and hopes to publish it, “ASAP.”
“We’re fine, we’ll just move on,” Overfield said.
Overfield has said Garza’s position will be replaced but does not know at this stage when, or what exactly that role will look like.
A number of shortcomings from last year’s fair have been identified which the fair board and commissioners hope to resolve in the coming months. Mangold said the public was happy with last year’s fair, despite the fact that past events administrator Audra Jewell was fired by Garza shortly before last summer’s event.
“We did a good job given that we lost a key employee before the fair,” he said.