Boise Farmers’ Market Dismisses Its Executive Director

Sep 4, 2012

Boise’s Capital City Public Market is looking for a new executive director. The farmers' market board has dismissed Karen Ellis, its leader of 18 years.

Ellis founded the market in 1994 and since then it has grown to encompass six blocks of downtown Boise every Saturday between April and December. Market board member Kurtis Williams calls Ellis a visionary but not a business person. Williams says earlier this year the board discovered Ellis had made a number of book keeping mistakes.

“We contracted with you and you said you were going to take care of everything and pay all the employees, take care of all the taxes, work comp and everything like that and you didn’t do it," Williams says of Ellis.  "It makes us say you don’t have very sound business judgment. You know that was a big hit leading to saying wow maybe she’s not the right person to lead us here.”

Williams says the board fixed the problems in June. He says the market drew scrutiny from Idaho’s State Industrial Commission but avoided any fines or sanctions.

The board has also begun the process of getting tax exempt status. That’s something it tried to do when it was first founded, but all the steps were not properly executed.