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State officials say State Fair Director Troy Waffner’s departure was voluntary

A New York State Fair spokesperson says the departure of Fair Director Troy Waffner was voluntary.

Waffner takes new state position

The Citizen reports the state Department of Ag and Markets, which oversees the fair, says Waffner will become the statewide agricultural fair development director, a position created just for him. According to a department news release, Waffner will “evaluate ways to increase marketing and promotion of county fairs as well as opportunities to improve youth and agricultural programming initiatives at all fairs statewide.”

There was speculation about Waffner’s status after News Channel 9 in Syracuse reported that he had taken an extended leave of absence and had not been heard from publicly in months. No reason for the leave has been given. The fair is set to begin in just a few months. With Waffner’s departure, spokesperson Dave Bullard says the event is being run by chief financial officer, Barb Godfrey, with support from state officials.

Who will run this year’s fair?

Sean Hennessey, formerly with the state transportation department, has been hired as assistant director and will serve as interim director this year. That position had been advertised for the last several months.

Waffner had spent 11 years as assistant director, then director of the state fair, the second-longest stint in its history. Bullard said Waffner took the new position voluntarily.