It’s been a bad week for Moorhead after the City Council appointed someone to fill an open council seat without doing interviews.
The council has received nothing but bad press since, including the latest screed in the Fargo Forum written by Concordia College political science instructor Bill Stodden:
“By definition, this seat was not filled with even a modicum of democratic process. … I teach government for a living. I can say, as a political scientist, that the way the Majority on the City Council filled this vacancy does not meet even the loosest standards of democracy and popular government that we have a right to expect in this country and in this city.”
Stodden was one of about a dozen Moorhead residents who applied for the open council seat. They were promised in an email from the city that “interviews will take place on December 12, 2016, beginning at 4 p.m. in the Moorhead City Council Chambers.”
The interviews never happened. Instead, on Monday the council voted 4 to 3 in favor of appointing stay-at-home mother Melissa Fabian.
Another applicant, Shinwar Mayi, was more qualified yet wasn’t even given an opportunity to address the council.
“When candidates appeared on Monday night, expecting to speak on our own behalf, we found that the process we had been told was not the actual process, and anyhow, was being thrown out the window,” Stodden wrote.
Mayor Del Rae Williams still has the ability to veto the council’s decision, and has indicated she may do so.