BACKGROUNDOrganization and Structure of the New York State Fair
Over time the Fair, including the annual fair and the related fairgrounds, havebeen overseen, administered, and operated by a number of state departments, agencies,and public authorities.
An annual state fair in New York has been a tradition since the inaugural fair in1841. In 1899 the State purchased the fairgrounds from the New York State AgriculturalSociety, which had founded the fair. The State assumed control over fair operations thefollowing year. In 1927 the State Department of Agriculture and Markets was grantedauthority over the fair and the state-owned fairgrounds.
The Industrial Exhibit Authority
In 1933, Article 8 Title 3 of the Public Authorities Law established the IndustrialExhibit Authority (“IEA”), a public benefit corporation charged with developing andmanaging an industrial exhibition in connection with the annual state fair, which itaccomplished by issuing bonds to finance the construction of modern facilities on thefairgrounds. The IEA was governed by a seven member board, which included theCommissioner of the Department of Agriculture and Markets as its chair.The Director of the State Fair, an employee of the Department of Agriculture andMarkets, served as the IEA’s manager. Over time, as the IEA’s operations evolved withexpanded year-round activities on the fairgrounds, the IEA and its employees assumedresponsibility for administering the annual state fair and year-round activities on thefairgrounds.The IEA was dissolved by the New York State Legislature in July 2009. All IEAassets and liabilities were transferred to the State and placed under the control of theDepartment of Agriculture and Markets. In addition, all individuals who had beenemployed directly by the IEA became employees of the Department of Agriculture andMarkets.
Management Under the Department of Agriculture and Markets
Management of the Fair under the Department of Agriculture and Markets hasremained largely unchanged from that of the IEA. The Fair director, Dan O’Hara, alongwith other senior managers, have retained their positions and perform their duties in asimilar manner to how they performed them under the IEA, with the exception that theyare all now formally employees of the Department of Agriculture and Markets.