Mediator In Talks With City of Fargo and Airport Authority

FARGO, N.D. (KFGO) – Representatives of the City of Fargo and the Fargo Airport Authority met Monday for the first time with a mediator hired to come up with a solution to a long-standing dispute between the two.

The issue centers around whether airport authority employees are city employees and also about services the city provides to the airport under an agreement.  Former U.S. District Magistrate Judge Karen Klein was hired as the mediator in the dispute.

Airport Authority Chairman Mike Haugen says a legal agreement is clear that airport workers are under the authority but he is hopeful the differences can be resolved. Haugen says this has been an on-going issue since 1969 when the agreement was made between the city and the airport and he says it needs to be resolved.

Mayor Tim Mahoney calls the issue complicated. Mahoney says he’s not doubting their authority or what they do, but he says those workers are city employees and have been for 50 years. He adds, “We’ll see how the judge works this out.”

Both Haugen and Mahoney are part of the mediation underway at the Federal Courthouse.

Fargo City Attorney Erik Johnson is giving the talks two days but is uncertain if an agreement will come out of the mediation.

If a negotiated deal cannot be worked out within 45 days, the city has the power to move ahead with an “orderly dissolution” of the airport authority.

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