Paula Downing, manager of the Santa Rosa Original Farmer’s Market for the better part of the last decade, has been re-hired, effective immediately.
The board’s decision to dismiss Paula, made a few weeks ago, was reversed last night at a special meeting, called for the purpose of discussing Paula’ Downing’s abrupt dismissal, Jill Adams of Crescent Moon Farms explained early this afternoon.
After one member, Elli of Wild Rose Ranch, read a summary of the market’s by-laws and portions of Robert’s Rules of Order, Brock Fulmer of Black Sheep Farm made a motion to reinstate Paula. After the motion was seconded, there was considerable discussion, with at least one member arguing strongly against it. But when a final vote was taken, there was overwhelming support to return Paula to her position as market manager.
There’s been a pall over the Santa Rosa Original Farmers Market ever since the board abruptly dismissed Paula, who is tremendously popular with both customers and the majority of vendors. There are, of course, many reasons attendance at a farmers market fluctuates and everything from the World Series and Halloween to stormy weather may have influenced the drop in shoppers. But it has been impossible not to sense that something else has been wrong. There have been fewer vendors at a time when the market should be bulging at its seams with harvest and there’s been a gloomy look on many farmers’ faces. Regular customers, too, have seemed concerned and, in some instances, sad.
If you’ve been avoiding the market, gather your cloth shopping bags and get ready for Wednesday morning. It should be a happy, harmonious day.