Breaking news: Sources tell CoasterBuzz that Jack Falfas has resigned as COO of Cedar Fair

Posted Saturday, June 12, 2010 6:47 PM | Contributed by Jeff

Two sources external to Cedar Fair have made credible statements to CoasterBuzz indicating that chief operating officer Jack Falfas has resigned from his position with the company. We've sent e-mail to official channels to confirm, and are waiting for a response. Again, this has not been confirmed by the company. Stay tuned...

According to the Cedar Fair Web site, Falfas has been with the company for 33 years and served as COO since 2005.

Thursday, June 17, 2010 4:46 PM

I am not sure what kind of "hard data" would be required here but from what I know as fact:

They have lost hundreds of years of experience at Cedar Point alone (not too mention the years of experience that they basically ignored when they sent folks packing at the Paramount Parks.)

At Cedar Point I know for a fact that they have lost:

A couple of extremely qualified GMs

Both of their most experienced HR people.

Experienced Operations personnel.

Experienced Foods Personnel

Many of those folks are gone well before retirement age and most of them, if asked, would have told you that Cedar Point was the only place they ever wanted to work.

Losing the COO who just a few years ago was touted as the best possible person to take over for Dick with his pending retirement adds to the troubling data.

Oh, and then there are the minor issues of Dick fast tracking his son-in-law up the management ladder and inexplicably putting his least capable son in a GM role.

All of this happening while he overextends on the Paramount Parks and tries to force feed Cedar Point policies and procedures into parks he has little local knowledge about. Oh, and buying up Geauga Lake (again chasing away most of their highly experienced staff) only to close up shop and limp along almost as an afterthought with the water park. (Ask their GM how many times they have had a visit by Dick.)

Jerking around the shareholders with meetings that get cancelled at the last minute. Not doing due diligence before suffering a significant financial penalty trying to sell the company. Stealing cotton candy from passing children (ok...so I made that one up).

But, how much of the picture do we need to paint until it becomes pretty obvious where the problems lie?

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Thursday, June 17, 2010 4:59 PM
Carrie M.'s avatar

wahoo skipper said:


But, how much of the picture do we need to paint until it becomes pretty obvious where the problems lie?

That was my point exactly. There's no more value added by spinning yarns about what might have happened to lead to Falfas' departure. You have all the information you need. The rest is just venting and story telling and to me it's a bit unnecessary.


"If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins." --- Benjamin Franklin

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Thursday, June 17, 2010 5:15 PM

I think it is extremely necessary. The message isn't getting through to the Board of Directors. The existing employees aren't going to be vocal about it. I have to believe that influential folks read these boards once in a while..or at least catch wind of what is being said on them...and I have to believe at some point the questions will go from being from us to being from institutional shareholders, board members (particularly the new Q appointed guys) or someone else that can influence change.

Mead said, "Don't ever think a small group of dedicated individuals can't change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."

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Thursday, June 17, 2010 5:24 PM
Carrie M.'s avatar

Fair enough. Far be it for me to squash anyone's dream. As I said before, this is all just my opinion. Perhaps the bigger investors and board members indeed do make decisions or offer credence to posts that in essence say, "Dick Kinzel is a Soviet Union-esque leader who will send employees he thinks betray him to a Siberian labor camp!" (Please excuse the paraphrasing... :) )

Keep hope alive, I say. :)


"If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins." --- Benjamin Franklin

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Thursday, June 17, 2010 5:33 PM

So is the labor camp in question located in Minneapolis, Muskegon, or Santa Clara?

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

Last edited by RideMan, Thursday, June 17, 2010 5:34 PM

    /X\        _      *** Respect rides. They do not respect you. ***
/XXX\ /X\ /X\_ _ /X\__ _ _ _____
/XXXXX\ /XXX\ /XXXX\_ /X\ /XXXXX\ /X\ /X\ /XXXXX
_/XXXXXXX\__/XXXXX\/XXXXXXXX\_/XXX\_/XXXXXXX\__/XXX\_/XXX\_/\_/XXXXXX

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Thursday, June 17, 2010 5:39 PM

I think the anecdotes and personal venting have one other very important role in this whole saga. They serve as a showcase that many people likely all holding different personal, socio-economic, and various other ideals all agree on the point that Kinzel is no longer fit for his position and needs to go based on direct or indirect personal experience in the company and/or as a stakeholder. That a variety of people can all agree on this based on things beyond the hard data and facts made readily available to everyone says to me that there is a major problem stemming from one person, who happens to be at the top of the company.


Original BlueStreak64

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Thursday, June 17, 2010 5:55 PM

RideMan said:
So is the labor camp in question located in Minneapolis, Muskegon, or Santa Clara?

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

Santa Clara doesn't work for Siberia - it needs to be a cold dreary place, with a low cost of living and poor employment prospects. It's best if there is someone who can fill the role of the secret police as well. Hmm, come to think of it, I considered SANDUSKY to be Siberia when I defected.

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Thursday, June 17, 2010 8:12 PM

Yet, despite all this common knowledge of all the mistakes, only 10 days ago, Kinzel was reappointed to the board by the unitholders. Maybe with Falfas' resignation, and the unconfirmed allegation that Kinzel steals cotton candy from kids, we can get a do-over.

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Thursday, June 17, 2010 9:22 PM
mlnem4s's avatar

Wahoo Skipper painted a very clear picture of the experience so many of us have had working at Cedar Fair. It's sad frankly. At this point let's hope and pray SANITY rules out and we see a departure of the CEO, the CFO, as well as select board members and get some new, fresh, creative leadership to take Cedar Fair to the next level that it should have been at decades ago.

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Thursday, June 17, 2010 10:27 PM
Jeff's avatar

RatherGoodBear said:
Yet, despite all this common knowledge of all the mistakes, only 10 days ago, Kinzel was reappointed to the board by the unitholders.

Well, not really. I mean, if there is no alternative to vote for, you only need one vote.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Phrazy

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Friday, June 18, 2010 12:55 AM

Touchdown said:

"Well I know of two (or is it three) computers at CP that even if they were watched would be of no help. Im talking about the Donut Time machines Im sure an employee could in street clothes while he is off (along with a hat I guess to avoid the security cameras) go and post the gossip."

- LOL.... The good ol' Donut Time Machines! And what about the minimum wage unappreciated security guards that watch those and so many other cameras...

Wahoo Skipper wrote:

"They have lost hundreds of years of experience at Cedar Point alone"

- It's happened at EVERY park CF has touched. They've got it down to a science. Depress moral, Cut & suppress pay scales*. Older knowledgeable Management leaves, and Presto, you get inexperienced blood at half the price! Ingenious!
That's why your the CEO Dick!
(Course you lose more in the long run with all the accident lawsuits, state fines, federal fines, ect.... but whose looking long term anyway, I'll just sell the company when it gets to that point!)

Wahoo Skipper also wrote:

"Oh, and then there are the minor issues of Dick fast tracking his son-in-law up the management ladder and inexplicably putting his least capable son in a GM role."

- No, it's a HUGE issue. I'm glad DK has a "No Nepotism" rule at his parks.

And then Mead said:

"Don't ever think a small group of dedicated individuals can't change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."

- Very true. And for some who are disabled the computer is their only window to scream at the world....

(*Select family/friends excluded)

Last edited by Corporate Puppet, Friday, June 18, 2010 1:01 AM
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Friday, June 18, 2010 1:04 AM
Jeff's avatar

Perhaps you should check out how to quote correctly. You can see it in this video, starting around 5:45.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Phrazy

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Friday, June 18, 2010 2:23 AM

Jeff said:
Perhaps you should check out how to quote correctly. You can see it in this video, starting around 5:45.

My apologies Sir. Thank you.

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Friday, June 18, 2010 6:54 AM

The nepotism thing actually adds to the issue. Dick has to hang on tooth and nail, because as soon as he goes, it is very likely his family members will be cut by the new administration. Whether they are competent or not. I never worked with any of them, so I can't comment on that.

And if their competency is questionable, then it is unlikely that they could find alternative employment at their current salaries.

In discussions with my previous co-workers, most of us have experienced better pay outside the amusement industry.

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Friday, June 18, 2010 7:16 AM

Power&Control said:

RideMan said:
So is the labor camp in question located in Minneapolis, Muskegon, or Santa Clara?

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

Santa Clara doesn't work for Siberia - it needs to be a cold dreary place, with a low cost of living and poor employment prospects. It's best if there is someone who can fill the role of the secret police as well. Hmm, come to think of it, I considered SANDUSKY to be Siberia when I defected.

It's funny, my edit was to add Santa Clara to the list. When I visited out there last July, it was a cold, dreary place. Not as cold as Santa Cruz, mind you, but then Santa Cruz was not so dreary.

I had to eliminate Sandusky from the running because that's the place that those in question were being exiled *from*.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.


    /X\        _      *** Respect rides. They do not respect you. ***
/XXX\ /X\ /X\_ _ /X\__ _ _ _____
/XXXXX\ /XXX\ /XXXX\_ /X\ /XXXXX\ /X\ /X\ /XXXXX
_/XXXXXXX\__/XXXXX\/XXXXXXXX\_/XXX\_/XXXXXXX\__/XXX\_/XXX\_/\_/XXXXXX

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Friday, June 18, 2010 9:59 AM

I agree with the above by you guy's and ladies! I caid it earlier in the week they have lost 200 years of combined service in the last 3 years due to Dicks hitler mentality! They have lost the following since 2007

A great GM in Don M

A great Purchasing director

A great Park Op director

A great Maintenance and Const director

A foods VP

A HR VP

A Electrical Maint. Manager

I could go on and on and this is just at Cedar Point!!!!!! These people have left for better lives and they have it! They all had 20 plus years!

I work at CP and I'm watching this! They have replaced these people with just a attitude of well it's just a job! And that is what they are getting!

Hell look at it again this year! All the rides did not open on time, All of the ride trains or cars are not rebuilt and on and it's 6-18 -10 now! The park has weeds and unpainted buildings! The food sucks and is way to expensive! The operations of the park is a joke!

They have the Mean Streak back to the old way it was! as a matter of fact they have it shut down and are working on it right now to try to fix what they have let go!

You have people in positions that don't care like the experienced people did! You have employees plain ripping them off and all they care about is looking the other way and collecting their $$$$$$$$$$$$ and bonus $$$$$$$$$$$$

The board neaad to wake up and tell Dick to go fishing and put Jack back in!!!!!!

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Friday, June 18, 2010 10:27 AM
mlnem4s's avatar

Trackbolt said:
Hell look at it again this year! All the rides did not open on time, All of the ride trains or cars are not rebuilt and on and it's 6-18 -10 now! The park has weeds and unpainted buildings! The food sucks and is way to expensive! The operations of the park is a joke!

You have people in positions that don't care like the experienced people did! You have employees plain ripping them off and all they care about is looking the other way and collecting their $$$$$$$$$$$$ and bonus $$$$$$$$$$$$

I have heard that not all the trains are back on track, could this be a cost-saving measure this year? Which rides are still missing ride vehicles? I know of Dragster and Corkscrew, are there others?

While food has always been a problem, everything I read says the improvements and changes the Director made this year have been a positive move, no?

What specifically is wrong with park operations? Bill Spehn is an excellent VP of Operations (and, frankly, I wouldn't mind seeing him as the new COO), I find it hard to believe the park not running up to his standards and it is in the one department that still has many of the long-term managers/directors still there. Could it be the issues you might be seeing are the result of an individual above them?

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Friday, June 18, 2010 11:29 AM

I believe Bill is a good man and he has a thumb down on him as DK hates him! He had alot of trouble at the GM spot he would never make it working for DK and that position! He is a motivating type guy!

As far as the food goes it is cold! uncooked! Hell at Game Day Grill they had a chicken sandwich sent back by a guest! It was never cooked!

If you look at the cooking and serving areas they are filthy!

Dragster is missin trains Gemini, Corkscrew,Mine Ride, Chaos is not running, Antique and Cadilac Cars along with Turnpike all have cars not on! Hell Mine Ride has had a wheel fly off and also a train put on that took all the proxes off, you had the Mantis get stuck several times! You have a new ride that won't run due to some call on not doing all of the clearance checks! I guess CP made that call not the manufacturer! I do know that the problem is the manufacturers but they would have known months earlier if they would have done their job! I think it was one of the high dollar mid corporate engineers that made that call!

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Friday, June 18, 2010 11:33 AM

I think my limit on exclamation points is three in one post before my eyes hurt. They are watering now.

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Friday, June 18, 2010 11:49 AM
Carrie M.'s avatar

Seriously, Trackbolt. You need to read the posting guidelines before continuing to post here. Grammar/spelling and unnecessary exclamation points (and otherwise unnecessary emphasis) is hard to read and diminishes the quality of the discussions.


"If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins." --- Benjamin Franklin

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