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Latest Farmers Market Manager Fired After 5 Weeks

Bret Nighman is given notice on Thursday evening.

Bret Nighman, the latest Studio City Farmers Market manager, was let go as the market manager after five weeks.

A member of the Farmers Market Board of Directors and executive director of the Studio City Chamber of Commerce Esther Walker, said late Thursday that she could not comment on the specifics of the change, but said, "There is no replacement at this time, and nothing will change" as far as the Farmers Market goes. "The vendors are happy and fine," she added.

This is the third manager at the popular market since March 2011 when the longtime manager Carole Gallegos was axed for one of the board members and lawyer Melody Dosch, whose family owns the local restaurant Artisan Cheese Gallery.

This farmers market is a non-profit corporation co-run by the Studio City Residents Association and the Studio City Chamber of Commerce. In the 2010 tax statements of the Studio City Farmers Market, the unpaid board consisted of Melody Dosch, Beth Dymond and Art Howard. The Farmers Market revenues totaled $271,946 and total expenses totaled $280,806. Those were the latest filings on GuideStar.

Walker said she ran the market during the interim when Dosch left and Nighman was hired.

Nighman said, "I was shockingly fired today" by Walker and the board and he added, "They refused to give me any reason. I asked them what I had done wrong and they replied, 'It's just not working out for us.'" 

The new manager said he was not told about any performance issues, and said, "I loved this position, thought I was doing a great job."

He said he had worked long hours and always received positive feedback.

Walker said there would be no further comment from the board.

Bret Nighman December 01, 2012 at 06:50 PM
I pride myself on being professional and ethical. If there was just cause for my firing I would take complete responsibility for that, although this remains unclear to me. In the wake of my dismissal I want it to be known that I have no ill feelings toward the Farmers Market, Esther Walker or the Board of Directors. I will continue to support the market and encourage others to do so.
Maria Foley December 01, 2012 at 07:58 PM
That's big of you Mr. Nighman. I don't know you or what happened but obviously you are a class act. I was born and raised here and I've seen so much change. Still wish I could see a movie where they put a book store. I hope you don't feel too bad. Life is funny. When we think it could be denying us something, it usually turns out to be protecting us from something. Onward and upward.You're still the man in the mirror. Best to you and yours....Maria www.mariamfoley.com
Jeff December 06, 2012 at 11:06 PM
I am appalled at the actions of the unpaid board and executive director of the Studio City Chamber of Commerce Esther Walker. The real travesty is that the entire board should be fired because they cannot manage a budget. The Farmers Market revenues totaled $271,946 and total expenses totaled $280,806. Those were the latest filings on GuideStar. Losing money is not acceptable. How much have they lost these past two years since they have not reported it. Firing people without declaring the cause is worse. No board member who was responsible for that loss should still be serving this City in any capacity nor should they have been allowed to run The Farmer's Market. Too many people doing overlapping jobs and requesting studies / focus groups/ questionaires (which cost money) on common sense business behavior and principles is wrong. If the residents and businesses are using their tax dollars to fund these group I suggest they fund the local public schools instead.
Mark C. Daly December 08, 2012 at 03:23 AM
I know Bret to be a man of great integrity and has served many companies and educational intitutions (like UCLA) with distinction. This action is a red flag that something is very very very wrong in the governance of this organization - farmer's markets are of increasing importance to urban environments and must be managed with care and vision.
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