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Farmers market plants seeds for a new season

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FRANK J. SCHULTZ
January 9, 2011
— With high hopes of a fresh start, vendors and interested residents elected a new board of directors for the Janesville Farmers Market on Saturday.

Several attendees said they hoped the market could move past last year’s troubles.


Marking the past year were complaints that market manager Teri Huber unfairly barred potential vendors. Amidst the controversy, most board members resigned, but not before appointing replacements.


The mostly appointed board ended Huber’s employment in October, leaving a decision on future management to the new board.


Among those elected Saturday were four directors who were appointed last spring: Janet Kassel, Val Heider, Bryan Meyer and Christine Rebout.


Meyer ran Saturday’s meeting at the Janesville Senior Center.


Meyer reported that the board is in its best fiscal shape in its six seasons. He also added that he felt the market set records for attendance and sales last season.


A motion by Don Blakeney, Kassel’s husband, led to a 27-0 vote to change the bylaws so that the board is no longer required to hire a market manager, although it may do so.


A suggestion by another vendor that the manager should not be a vendor, in order to ensure impartiality, was discussed but not acted on. Meyer said many markets allow the manager to vend because the position does not pay well.


The controversy of the past year was referred to only on occasion at the meeting.


A woman asked why Huber was not at the meeting. Meyer said she apparently decided not to come.


Meyer said after the meeting that he hoped the new board would address the issue of how to manage the market in the next 30 days. He said options include hiring Huber again, hiring someone else or using volunteers.


“I would recommend within the next 60 days that (the new board) would know who that manager is going to be,” Meyer said.


None of the candidates addressed the controversy directly in their short statements.


Among those elected were:


-- Matt Schreier, who said he wanted to see the market prosper and grow for the good of the city and the vendors.


-- Terry Nolan, who said she would listen to the vendors, who Nolan believes have the best ideas on how to improve the market.


-- Meyer said he has no ambition to continue being chairman but would serve if asked.


Also at the meeting, Meyer proposed, and the electors agreed, to amend the bylaws so that a special meeting could be held at any time, with 30 days notice—not just at the annual meeting—to change the bylaws. That passed 27-2.


Kassel said the amendment would allow changes before the market opens in the spring, but no one discussed what changes might be made.


Meyer said the old board had met five to eight times over the past few months.


FARMERS MARKET BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Elected at the annual meeting of the Janesville Farmers Market on Saturday:


To three-year terms


-- Janet Kassel


-- Bryan Meyer


-- Christine Rebout


To two-year terms


-- Val Heider


-- Terry Nolan


-- Matt Schreier


To one-year terms


-- Lucy Anderson


-- Richard Braun


-- David Frank



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