State Fair Director steps down - search for replacement is on

New York State Fair Director Thomas J. Ryan, who led the fair largely from behind the scenes, is stepping down. The State says a search committee will be named to seek a permanent director and that panel will be led by former Syracuse Mayor Matt Driscoll. Driscoll is the head of the New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation.

In a prepared news release, Ryan said, " I was honored to serve Governor Cuomo's Administration as Fair Director this year, and I thank him and all the people who made this year's event the significant success that it was."

The 2013 State Fair drew more than 851,000 people this year. Ryan's short tenure as the Fair Director came after a storm of controversy involving the last two directors. Two years ago, Peter Cappuccilli pleaded guilty to official misconduct after receiving a discount for his daughter's wedding from an Empire Room caterer.

Cappuccilli's replacement, Dan O'Hara, was quietly removed from his job in February amid a scathing report by the State Inspector General. The report found former Fair officials flouted normal competitive bid procedures for catering and electronic ticketing contracts, leading to an overhaul of the annual event's management.