Indiana fair director keeping job despite critical report

April 12, 2012

The Indiana State Fair's executive director will be keeping her job despite a report critical of the fair's emergency response plan ahead of last summer's deadly stage collapse.

Fair commission Chairman Andre Lacy says executive director Cindy Hoye had offered to resign but that he believed she should remain in her position leading the staff of the state-owned fairgrounds and the annual state fair.

Lacy says the fair leadership has much to learn and improve upon.

A review of the fair's emergency plans determined that "an ambiguity of authority" resulted in confusion and uncertainty as officials discussed whether to postpone a concert just before strong winds blew stage rigging onto waiting fans.

The stage rigging collapse during last summer's fair killed seven people and injured dozens of others.

Charlie Fisher of Washington, D.C.-based Witt Associates told the state fair commission Thursday that the fair's overall state of preparedness was not adequate for an event of its size and scope. He says the emergency response plan and procedures were not fully developed, and the plans weren't used ahead of the Aug. 13 collapse.

Two months prior to the 2011 fair, Hoye participated in IBJ's "Leading Questions" video feature. In the video posted below, she discussed her roots in 4-H, her role as the fair's unofficial "mayor," and a lesson learned about inclusion and collaboration when she tried to institute a business plan for the fairgrounds.


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