Lawmaker Sheds Light On State Fair Director’s Ouster

Frenette Gave Himself, Others Unauthorized Pay Raises

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A Milwaukee state lawmaker is standing behind this week’s firing of State Fair Park executive director Rick Frenette.

State Sen. Tim Carpenter, D-Milwaukee, himself a member of the State Fair Park Board, said Frenette had authorized merit pay increases for himself and others. So, Carpenter said he and the rest of the park board decided Frenette had to be terminated.

“He was an at-will employee, and we just felt it was highly inappropriate that we couldn’t have public monies being used to be giving raises to themselves,” he said.

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Carpenter said he wanted to do the right thing for the fair.

“We have a great State Fair, we’ve done very well in attendance, and we want to protect the institution of the state fair because it is such a jewel,” said Carpenter. “It’s so important to Milwaukee and the state.”

Frenette’s attorney said Frenette did not know he was among the people receiving the raise.

According to the state Department of Administration, the manner in which the raises were provided didn’t follow the required rules and approvals, which apply to all state agencies and employees. The DOA said Frenette and his legal counsel were provided ample opportunity to address the issues discovered in a state investigation.

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