Assemblyman Salas introduces bill aimed at improving oversight, accountability for local fairs

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KGET) — Assemblyman Rudy Salas has introduced a bill focused on improving oversight and accountability for local fairs after a scathing audit of the Kern County Fair by the state last year.

Assembly Bill 1841 would put new requirements in place for local fairs, such as mandate that employees undergo ethics and conflict-of-interest training, and develop policies to mitigate the potential for misuses of state funds.

Last summer, the State Auditor’s Office released a report alleging Kern County Fair officials misused and mismanaged hundreds of thousands of state dollars, such as by taking home state property, misusing state vehicles and making inappropriate purchases.

“The State Auditor’s report was alarming and demands immediate corrective action,” Salas said.

The bill comes after the state audit chided the Department of Food and Agriculture for inadequate oversight of the fair and failing to perform compliance audits that could have uncovered and addressed these activities sooner.

Carnival Warehouse, a news site focusing on carnivals and fairs, recently ranked last year’s Kern County Fair as 46 out of the top 50 fairs in the country based on attendance.

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