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.

Looking for quince? You'll find them at the Santa Rosa Original Certified Farmers Market, held Wednesdays and Fridays, rain or shine, from 8:30 to noon in the east parking lot of the Veterans Memorial Building

DeSantis Farm had freshly picked olives for sale at last week's farmers market

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.

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  1. Franco Dunn

    As a vendor at the Santa Rosa Farmers Market I was present at the meeting and voted for Paula. The last few weeks have been a bit difficult for the market. Democracy has prevailed. We all expect that this experience will ultimately make a great community market place even better. Hallelujah!!

    November 9th, 2010 2:33 pm

  2. Kathy M

    This is wonderful news, I have been shopping every Sat at the market for more than 15 years and was so dismayed to see Paula go. The market had thrived under her management, and I really miss hearing her on KSRO as I drive over, highlighting all the special things available that day.

    So welcome back Paula and thank you to the board for reversing its decision.

    November 9th, 2010 2:59 pm

  3. Elise Baril

    So glad to hear it! We are so lucky to have a year-round 2 day a week Farmers Market. If the vendors aren’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!

    November 9th, 2010 3:06 pm

  4. Frederique Lavoipierre

    Hurray! It just wasn’t the same without you Paula!

    November 9th, 2010 3:08 pm

  5. Marion

    I have been involved in several events at the SR market recently, working with Paula and also with Gloria Williams, who was recently hired to facilitate the use of CalFresh (Food Stamp) benefits at the market. I have always been impressed with the spirit of the market and the team attitude of the vendors and the board. I know that this was a very difficult situation for everyone, and I am glad it has worked out. The SR market is growing and has great things in its future.

    November 9th, 2010 3:10 pm

  6. Moira

    Hip, hip hooray! All’s well that ends well. Welcome back Paula. Good for the Board!!


    November 9th, 2010 3:42 pm

  7. Mary Kelley

    This is great news… Paula works hard for the farmers and the market.

    November 9th, 2010 4:35 pm

  8. Ellen Skagerberg

    Hooray for “Eat This Now” for bringing this great news!

    Happy to hear GOOD news for a change. It was a black eye when the Board claimed that they fired Paula because she had asked for a raise. That’s no way to conduct salary negotiations. Glad to see that the flimsy excuse has been abandoned and a dedicated market manager, who knows and greets so many of us personally, is back where she belongs.

    November 9th, 2010 5:11 pm

  9. Barbara Iannoli

    OK, Kids. With the world so scary these days, this small town victory is overwhelming. I am grateful to see the process work and for Paula to be trolling the stands shooting off her big mouth, which, by the way, is a match for her equally big heart. She puts her money where her mouth is, which is a rare commodity these days. Thanks for all of you who worked so hard to restore a level of sanity to the market. Bring on the dancing girls!

    November 9th, 2010 5:38 pm

  10. Customer

    Nice to see all the positive comments about Paula’s return! As a frequent market customer you do pick up on the conversations among vendors and hear a little about what is going on. I didn’t know she was fired though, I had heard her contract wasn’t renewed because she wouldn’t accept the offer of a raise from $3,000 a month to $3,500 a month, she insisted on $4,000. And what is meant by abruptly dismissed? Hasn’t the market trying to resolve this since early 2010? At some point you need to say enough is enough!

    November 9th, 2010 9:27 pm

  11. MicheleAnna.Jordan

    According to a number of vendors as well as Downing herself, she was told not to return to work, effective immediately. This occurred during negotiations on a number of unresolved issues, not simply on compensation. As far as what we have been able to determine, specific amounts were never the issue.

    November 9th, 2010 9:53 pm

  12. Peggy Songster

    I am so relieved to hear this news. The Market has not been the same with Paula missing.

    November 9th, 2010 10:07 pm

  13. Jayne Burns

    I want to convey my best wishes to Paula. This certainly must have been a difficult time for her. I am glad so many people supported her. I will always be grateful to her for taking a stand and speaking up for me and for justice. She is a remarkable, dedicated woman.

    November 10th, 2010 10:39 am

  14. Andrea Stilwell

    As a vendor,and Crafter, Paula has been very supportive of me over the years, she has done more for us than most realize behind the scenes, without her support, some insight and guidance I would not be where I am today.
    Thank You Paula, and Welcome Back.

    November 10th, 2010 4:59 pm

  15. Marjorie Lohrer

    So good to know that some things never change. Life was never dull around Paula.

    November 3rd, 2012 3:47 pm

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