Clark County Fair manager takes on added duty

John Morrison appointed director of event center

By Tom Vogt, Columbian science, military & history reporter

Published:

 
photoJohn Morrison

John Morrison, who recently oversaw a successful 2013 county fair, also is taking over the job of executive director of the Clark County Event Center at the Fairgrounds.

Morrison, the Clark County Fair's manager and chief executive officer, had been serving as interim head of the event center since May. In both capacities, Morrison is working for the Fairgrounds Site Management Group.

His appointment was affirmed a week ago by the Clark County commissioners. Although the job is not a county position, the agreement between the county and the nonprofit management group gives commissioners a say in the executive director's hiring.

Morrison was hired as fair manager by the Fairgrounds Site Management Group in 2009. He had volunteered with the Clark County Fair Association board for the previous 16 years, serving as chairman for six.

Under Morrison's leadership, the 2013 fair set income records for the food court and carnival. The attendance of 269,269 for the 10-day run in August was the highest in 10 years.

While the fair is the big draw, the exhibition hall hosts events year-round.

When it comes to handling both jobs, "I don't see a problem," Morrison said Monday afternoon. "I've been doing the fair long enough."

The salary of the previous executive director of the event center, Justin Kobluk, was $120,500. Morrison earns $98,000.

The Fairgrounds Site Management Group is expected to discuss a salary adjustment.

Consolidating the two positions is expected to save money in the fund that supports the Fairgrounds Site Management Group, said Clark County administrator Mark McCauley.

"Streamlining the payroll of the FSMG works to the county's benefit," McCauley said.

Morrison served in the U.S. Air Force from 1963 until 1991, when he retired as a colonel.

According to a county news release, Morrison earned a bachelor's degree in social science and economics at Chapman College and a master's in educational administration at Pepperdine University.