Kansas State Fair officials have received 27 applicants for the fair’s top job and, if possible, they’d like to have someone in the general manager’s role by Dec. 1.

Fair Board President Harmon Bliss, of Jetmore, said the hope is to begin interviews after the board’s meeting Nov. 10.

The fair board’s six-member committee met via conference call Tuesday afternoon.

Almost all the meeting was in executive session, although at least some of the discussion apparently didn’t fall under the legal exceptions for closing the meeting.

Hiring processes, such as outlining goals, job descriptions and other information that doesn’t have to do with individual applicants or personnel should be conducted in open session under the Kansas Open Meetings Act, said Kansas Press Association Attorney Max Kautsch.

Bliss said Wednesday the committee did talk about potential interview questions, which were formulated assessing what each of the 13 fair board members wanted to see in a general manager.

“You basically come down to six or seven things you want to see in a general manager and develop your questions around it,” Bliss said.

They also reviewed applicants and narrowed them down to the top six or seven so far, he said.

The committee is still taking applications through Nov. 1.

The executive session lasted about 35 minutes. The meeting adjourned immediately after returning to open session, without any action taken.

In June, the fair’s general manager, Denny Stoecklein, gave notice he was resigning after more than 12 years as director. A month later he left the fair, where he’d worked at various positions since 1995. Stoecklein is now director of marketing at Hutchinson Community College. At present, assistant manager Lori Hart is managing the fair.

Members of the fair’s general manager search committee include Bliss, as board chairman, who is a retired agriculture education teacher who is now with Farm Credit of Ness City; Tom Tunnell, executive director of the Kansas Grain and Feed Association; Ron Hinrichsen, the Northeast Extension District representative from Westmoreland; Brad Rayl, with Hutchinsons’s Fee Insurance Group; and Virginia Crossland-Macha, of Iola. Angie Clark, director of the Finney County Fairgrounds, is chairing the committee.