Fargo City Commission Votes Against Former City Worker’s Appeal

the vote was unanimous

FARGO, ND — In August, Aaron Cockfield was fired from his job at Fargo’s Solid Waste Facility for pushing his supervisor.

He had the second of two appeal hearings to try and get his job back this morning.

Cockfield had an unblemished record in the eight years he worked at the Fargo Solid Waste Department, until July 28.

“Mr. Cockfield walked over to where Sean Eckre was and shoved him five to six feet into the doorway,” said Nancy Morris, assistant city attorney.

Cockfield admits he pushed his supervisor, Sean Eckre, after the two got into an argument about a job that did not get finished.

But he says he was acting in self-defense and the incident was racially motivated because Eckre repeatedly called him “boy”.

“He’s never called anybody ‘boy’,” Cockfield said. “I mean you just don’t call anybody ‘boy’, even if it’s your friends. You just do not say that, you do not.”

Eckre told the City Commission he never meant for “boy” to come off as derogatory in the second appeal meeting Cockfield had.

The Fargo Civil Service Commission (FCSC) upheld Cockfield’s termination last month in a 3-2 vote.

“I think the amount of time it took was probably appropriate to reach the conclusions they did but I would have had him out of there that day if I had been in charge,” said Jane Pettinger of the FCSC.

Cockfield tried to have the City Commission overturn the ruling, but they voted 3-0 to not reinstate him. He says it was the wrong decision.

“I did not approach the man, the man approached me. If you have a problem with me, you write it up and we’re supposed to deal with it with the proper authorities the next day,” Cockfield said.

Morris says it was the appropriate one though.

“There is no dispute that there was violence in the workplace,” she said.

Officials with the City of Fargo agree saying, “The City of Fargo views the safety of its employees and residents as its highest priority. Today’s decision reaffirms the decision for violence in the workplace.”

Cockfield says if he had been reinstated, he would not have gone back to the waste facility.

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