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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The Kentucky State Fair Board has hired a new President and CEO. Clifford Rippetoe runs a Las Vegas trade show and convention company. He beat out one other candidate, who has not been named.
Rippetoe will replace Harold Workman, who has been under fire for the past year. Workman is retiring, but it has been no secret that Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear has wanted to replace him.
The fair board is currently running a $5 million deficit. In the past, the state has kicked in some extra money to help out. The board has had to cut advertising and travel spending and will cut the number of part-time workers to staff events.
No layoffs are planned that would affect the 275 permanent employees who work for the fair board.
The board has suffered a number of setbacks during the past several years -- Kentucky Kingdom closed, University of Louisville basketball moved to the KFC Yum Center, it lost the contract to run the center, and it lost rent from the Executive Inn, which was torn down.
The Fair Board feels Rippetoe has the experience to deal with those challenges. Fair Board Chairman Ron Carmicle said Friday, "I think he was made aware of the challenges that exist. Anyone that comes into a new job, there's a level of challenge that exists in there....I think that he has done his homework, I think that he has done his research."
"He seems to have a real grasp on the issues facing convention centers," said Tom Schifano, the Search Committee Chairman, "and what our challenges are going forward."
The board recently hired Gary Stewart as the new chief financial officer to deal with the board's problems. The board has a $45 million budget.