ONTARIO – Malheur County fairgrounds manager Dawnita Haueter was fired Monday, just weeks after she was placed on administrative leave pending an investigation.
Malheur County Sheriff Travis Johnson said his office had opened an investigation into “discrepancies in bookkeeping” at the fairgrounds. Johnson declined to release any more information.
Haueter, 53, stepped into the fairgrounds manager position in December 2021. Haueter earned a salary of about $45,000 a year, according to the county. She is supervised by the six-member fair board that includes Dave Tschida, Thomas, Jen Hall, Leanna Elguezabal, Chris Johnston and Garrett Chamberlain.
“She was separated from her employment. She was an at-will employee that serves at the pleasure of the fair board. So, they could terminate her at any time,” said Dan Joyce, Malheur County judge.
Joyce said Haueter “did not fulfill or live up to the obligations of her contract.”
Fair board co-chair Helen Thomas said she had no comment on Haueter’s termination.
Thomas did say the board wants to hire someone to fill the fairground manager position as soon as possible.
“We will replace her. Ideally it would be tomorrow but that isn’t going to happen. So, I don’t have any idea when it will be. Soon I hope,” said Thomas.
County officials were tight-lipped regarding why Haueter was placed on administrative leave May 5. Haueter could not be reached for comment.
The fair board is an independent entity that operates from state money funneled into the county’s Fair Fund. The county owns the fairgrounds property and the board is accountable to the county court regarding operations and maintenance.
The Malheur County Fair is scheduled for Aug. 1-Aug. 5.
News tip? Contact reporter Pat Caldwell at [email protected]
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