Street fair back on track with conditional contract

By Tina Richards

The Orange City Council granted an extension to its contract with the Orange International Street Fair (OISF) Association, April 9, ensuring that the food fest will take place this Labor Day weekend, as usual.

The extension comes with a list of 14 conditions intended to give priority to Orange-based nonprofits, improve operational transparency and give the city access to OISF’s financial records. The conditions were identified via an audit of street fair policies, procedures and bookkeeping conducted at the request of the city council.

Orange partners with OISF, itself a nonprofit, because it offers local charities a major fundraising opportunity. Profits from food and alcohol sales go directly to organizations that staff the booths that take over the Old Towne Plaza area the first weekend in September. In recent years, however, the city has received complaints that Orange nonprofits have been denied space (or a turn selling alcohol), while out-of-area organizations are accepted.    

Due diligence
OISF’s contract expired in early 2018, but was extended for one year to accommodate that year’s event. That extension was granted under the condition that OISF agree to an audit.  No audit was undertaken. When the 2019 extension came around for approval, the council, nudged by Councilman Mike Alvarez, insisted on a third-party audit. When the auditing firm asked OISF for documents, three board members resigned. 

The remaining board, led by OISF President Adam Feliz, provided most of the requested documents. Feliz has since agreed to all of the conditions specified in the contract extension.   

The contract now stipulates that Orange nonprofits will be given priority for booths, alcohol rotation (16 licenses are rotated between participants) and waitlists. The city will receive a complete list of participants, along with nonprofit certification and documentation, origin and contact information, as well as those waitlisted by Aug. 1. That information will also be published on the OISF website.  

The website is also required to include OISF’s policies and procedures, general rules and regulations and an online complaint form. All complaints must be reported, resolved and reflected in OISF Board meeting minutes.

Open books
Orange expects all board minutes, the organization’s vendor management system, and financial reports to be available on request. General accounting practices will be improved and records retained for five years. Wristband sales for alcoholic beverages must include best practices for cash handling, oversight of bank deposits, end-of-day cash reconciliation and an accounting of a nonprofit’s beginning cash and tips.  

“The audit resulted in far more than I expected,” said Alvarez, who has consistently called 2019 a transition year for OISF. “We’re on our way to establishing a fair contract.” City Manager Rick Otto reported that he plans to come back to the council with a multi-year street fair contract in August. 

Following the unanimous council vote to approve the one-year extension, Mayor Mark Murphy motioned for the weather to be about 75 degrees this Labor Day weekend.  That, too, received unanimous support.

May 2019