For the next two years, stay-at-home mother Melissa Fabian will represent east Moorhead’s 2nd ward on the City Council, despite receiving zero votes from that part of town.
Bypassing the regular democratic process, Fabian was voted into office yesterday by four council members, none of whom are from the 2nd ward. She was one of 15 people who applied for the open seat being vacated by Jim Haney, a 2nd ward councilman leaving halfway through his term.
Software executive Shinwar Mayi got the second-most votes, including one from 2nd ward Councilwoman Heidi Durand.
One of the applicants, Daniel Haglund, was surprised by Monday’s vote, considering he received an email from the city saying that “interviews will take place on December 12, 2016, beginning at 4:00 p.m. in the Moorhead City Council Chambers.”
Council members gave various reasons for speeding up the process.
“We have a lot of year-end things that we have to take care of,” said Councilman Mike Hulett.
Councilman Steve Gehrtz said the seat’s not that important anyway.
“We’re not appointing a Supreme Court justice here,” he said.
The explanations didn’t satisfy Haglund.
“The Moorhead City Council changed its decision-making process at the last minute and completed a hand vote without interviews or expected vetting,” he wrote in a Facebook post. “I’m unsure of what local democracy means anymore.”
It’s not the Supreme Court, so who cares?
Council members Gehrtz, Hulett, Brenda Elmer and Nancy Otto voted for Fabian. Council members Durand, Mari Dailey and Chuck Hendrickson voted for Mayi. Haney recused himself.