Downing officially reinstated to market

The last word on the embroiled market manager?

A new board of directors for the Original Certified Santa Rosa Farmer’s Market has  officially reinstated embroiled market manager Paula Downing to her former post.
A six-member interim board unanimously voted to hire Downing last night, after weeks of controversy during which Downing was fired, rehired and ultimately put into a legal limbo where her employment was in dispute. She was dismissed from her position as a contract-employee at the Wednesday and Saturday Veteran’s Hall market on Sept. 30, and returned on Nov. 8.
“It feels good doing my life’s work again,” said Downing during the meeting. “There are still emotional things to deal with, but it’s feels good.”
Based on last night’s vote, Downing will receive a $500 per month raise, along with benefits as an employee of the market. Ironically, the employment offer made last night was identical to the same offer she rejected in September and which ultimately led to her firing.
The choice to reinstate Downing has been contentious, leading to the mass resignations of of six of the market’s seven board members. The former board resigned after 56 of the market’s 111 members voted to reinstate Downing — an act they deemed illegal and outside the market’s own bylaws.
Several former board members in attendance at last night’s meeting asked both publicly and privately why Downing rejected their offer, which they claim led to the market’s internal upheaval, and accepted it last night.
Downing declined to comment about her decision last night, but when reached for comment today said she anticipated continued negotiations for additional compensation after the new finance committee had investigated the market’s financial solvency. According to its own bylaws, the board was legally required to resolve Downing’s employment status before she could attend any future markets.
Interim board members also voted to suspend legal counsel retained by former board members to mitigate Downing’s employment status during last night’s meeting.
The next board meeting for the market will be held on December 6, and a new board will be elected on January 29, 2011.


6 thoughts on “Downing officially reinstated to market

  1. This new Board is a joke. Who makes an offer of employment to someone who is in the middle of so much turmoil. Didn’t they read Downing is part of the Sonoma Market mess? This new Board might as well hand over the bank account to Downing. Sounds like that’s what she’s really after, money and then more money. But before they do that, can I get their names? There’s a bridge in Arizona I’d like to sell them…

  2. Ok. So she was originally a CONTRACT employee, so when her contract was over she wanted $1,000 more a month plus some other kickbacks. The board countered with $500 and benefits of a regular employee. In her greed she declined. This is what we call “no meeting of the minds.” So she was never fired, just decided to move on because she wanted more than the board felt she was worth. I fail to see why she gets re-instated? People need to think with their minds a little more. If this was her lifes work, then why does she need so much more money?
    Hell, I work for a millionaire. Does that mean I should get an extra $1,000 a month on top of my $3,500 a month? I’ll go ask him and watch myself get fired. Sounds like she thought the board would cave and when they stuck to their guns they called her bluff and now she’s got sour grapes.
    My favorite part of this whole debacle is two things actually. One, how stupid do we look to the rest of the community and other farmers markets? Two, after she takes the offer the board originally gave her, she says she’s STILL GOING TO ASK FOR MORE!!! WTF?!? I know she’s old but she couldn’t have gone senile already….can she?

    1. My favorite part is waiting to see how long before Paula shows her real face to the interim board, her aka friends!

  3. The “former board Members” were well aware why Paula accepted the offer that was the “same” as their previous offer. At the meeting where Ms. Downing was voted back as market manager it was brought up that she was willing to accept their previous offer. This acceptance was on the condition that further negotiations regarding her salary would continue. All of the vendors/members and former member present last night were again made aware of this fact during discussion.
    Most important was the climate of reconciliation that pervaded last night’s meeting. The interim board and the vast majority of those present wished to move forward and to leave past differences behind.

    1. It’s funny how the interim board was ok with giving Ms. Downing a raise but couldn’t give back and sign a check to the local food backs for the holidays when asked! NOOO, Ms. Downing is not all about money!!!! And what was her reason for asking for more money, because she knows how much money the market has in the bank. Thanks Paula! Im also going to demand from my boss a $2,000 raise because I know the compony has X amount in the bank. I guess $3,000 a month is not enough, oh wait! It’s now $3,500! And soon Ms. Downing will be asking for $4,000 a month! But I’m just saying! 🙂

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