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Dispute Over Airport Employees and Services Likely Resolved in Mediation

Tuesday, January, 28, 2020

Fargo’s mayor is hopeful that the agreement reached during mediation will be approved by the city commission.  The agreement would settle the dispute between the city and the Fargo Municipal Airport Authority.


According to the mayor, there was progress made in the mediation and the talks have been “fruitful.” Specific details of the agreement could not yet be shared, but both sides expressed hope that the dispute would soon come to an end.


Mediation meetings began in mid-December.  The sessions were facilitated by Karen Klein, a former US District Court Judge who now runs a mediation firm in Fargo.  The mediation was expected to focus on the issue of whether airport employees were city workers.  There were also issues in question regarding the services provided by the city to the airport.


Prior to the start of mediation, city commissioners had discussed the possibility of dissolving the airport authority if mediation was unsuccessful.  


Mediation was determined to be the next best path to resolution in late October when the dispute reached a crescendo and the airport authority rejected the city’s update of the existing agreement.  The two had been operating under that agreement since 1969.  The update established that airport workers were city employees, which the airport authority disagreed with.


During the course of discussions regarding employees, the airport authority assessed how much it had been paying Fargo for vendor services and began to question if it should seek alternative private sector providers.


It is not yet clear what aspects of the dispute the mediated resolution will address, but both sides are hoping the agreement resolves the ongoing issue.