Orange County Fair Board members promoted interim chief executive Michele Richards to the job permanently, weeks after they fired her predecessor.

Richards had been serving as the interim chief executive officer since Oct. 28 when the fair board fired Kathy Kramer, who took a similar job as president and general manager of the Central Washington State Fair.

Kramer’s firing came after the Voice of OC reported she had served on the fundraising board of Vanguard University, which is across the street from the fairgrounds. Kramer told the Daily Pilot that her firing was retaliation for raising questions about “misconduct” of two former board members.

Richards was previously the vice president of business development for about seven years. She has also served as a consultant to the OC Fair and Event Center for 11 years.

“I cannot think of a better person to move us forward,” said OC Fair board chairwoman Sandra Cervantes. “Michele is very well-prepared for this role and comes into the position with the full support of the board and staff. We are excited about the future.”

Richard said, “I believe that what we do here is special and important and I am honored to be entrusted to serve this amazing organization.”

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