January 14, 2020 Chris Howard

FARGO, N.D. – “What we ended up with is what we needed, and that is an agreement, and that will carry us far into the future,” said Fargo City Commissioner John Strand

Over the last couple of months, the City of Fargo and the Municipal Airport Authority have been in heated discussions regarding the Memorandum of Understanding between the two.

Disagreements over how airport employees should be paid, including Executive Director Shawn Dobberstein, and whether they should be considered city employees had often derailed the proceedings.

A mediator was brought in to calm the process down and move the discussion forward in a positive discussion.

“So, instead of both of us arguing about it, we both said ‘Well, we’re both right.’ It takes discussion, and willingness to resolve that issue,” said Maj. Gen. Mike Haugen, the Chair of the Airport Authority.

Under the new agreement, airport employees will be considered City of Fargo employees and will be paid according to the city’s established pay plan.

A new committee, the Airport Position Evaluation Committee, will evaluate compensation for positions that fall out outside of that pay plan.

The new memorandum will require the Airport Authority pay the city $205,000 dollars in recouped payment for 2016 and 2017.

This payment will set the formula for future payments.

The agreement does include the option to terminate the memorandum on or before July 1st if either party feels it’s not suitable.

“If we had something in here that we thought we shouldn’t of put in here, We’re not going to wait a year to fix it. We want to look at it in six months, we want to be able to adjust and fix it, rather then having a problem stagnate,” said Maj. Gen. Mike Haugen, the Chair of the Airport Authority.

This new agreement was signed Tuesday afternoon, and now, the two organizations are looking to improving the future of the airport.

“We feel that our airport is a welcome mat for the City of Fargo, and we have to have a fantastic airport,” said Mayor Mahoney.

With the memorandum issue now behind them, airport officials say they can start planning for a bright future for the airport.

You can see the full Memorandum of Understanding attached to this article below.