Fargo Airport Authority rejects offer from city, mayor ‘profoundly disappointed’
FARGO, N.D. – The Municipal Airport Authority votes to hire a private company to handle payroll and other employee services now handled by the city.
It’s a move Mayor Tim Mahoney says he’s “profoundly disappointed” with.
The authority rejected an agreement with the city to provide the services like it’s done for 50 years.
One of the biggest disagreements centers on the city’s claim that the 27 airport employees are city workers. The airport authority says it has control of the employees.
Authority member Erik Lind says Mayor Mahoney told the board he wouldn’t allow airport employees to participate in retirement and health care benefits if it voted to break away from the city.
“That just seems that is a hostile kind of action to force our hand into getting what he wants to get,” Municipal Airport Authority Board Member Erik Lind said.
Authority members say hiring a private company costs “significantly less” than the $170,000 it pays the city.
Mayor Mahoney says the move will “substantially increase healthcare, operating and administrative costs for the airport.”
Read Mayor Mahoney’s full statement below:
“After many months of good faith efforts by the City of Fargo to negotiate a new memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Municipal Airport Authority (MAA), I am profoundly disappointed with today’s votes by the MAA to completely reject the City’s draft MOU. Instead of focusing on the vital issues facing Hector International Airport and working together to build a thriving and modern airport for our metro community, the MAA is clearly disinterested in continuing our 50-year partnership. It appears that working with the City on a mutual and effective way forward no longer remains a goal of the MAA. I will be meeting with my fellow City Commissioners in the near future to discuss today’s disappointing votes of the MAA and chart our next step forward in this process.”
“We maintain the employees serving Hector International are City of Fargo employees and I am a strong advocate for the rights of these people. Employees currently serving at the airport would immediately lose their civil service protections under the MAA’s plan, along with the many services the City offers them as part of its workforce family. Separating from the City will substantially increase healthcare, operating and administrative costs for the airport, which will undoubtedly be passed along to the people flying out of Hector International. The MAA has yet to determine the cost for the airport to separate and replace the vast support, services and employee benefits currently provided by the City. Today’s actions truly defy logic and I invite a community conversation on this topic.”