Moorhead Council Do-Over Produces Identical Result

Melissa Fabian

It’s been a crazy couple weeks for the Moorhead City Council. It all started Dec. 5 when council members voted to appoint someone to an open council seat without doing interviews.

The vote was 4 to 3 in favor of Melissa Fabian, a stay-at-home mother.

The backlash was swift and merciless. How could the council pick someone without doing interviews, especially after other candidates had been told that interviews would take place?

Mayor Del Rae Williams whipped the council into line by threatening a veto. And so the process was re-started, and the council picked three candidates — Fabian, Daniel Haglund and Joel Bakken — to interview last night.

Bakken was a real snooze to listen to, so it came down to Haglund and Fabian.

Fabian tried to impress council members with her volunteer experience, which includes raising money for youth hockey and building “wells for people in Africa.”

Asked to identify Moorhead’s priorities, Fabian listed flood diversion and underpasses. Haglund said the city should bolster its “understaffed” fire and police departments.

Haglund said his newspaper experience would help the city improve its media relations. Fabian said her strong suit is her “energy and passion for this city.”

As she made her closing statement, Fabian started crying. “This past week or two has not been easy for me or my family,” she said.

In the end, the council voted exactly as it did before. The same four council members voted for Fabian: Mike Hulett, Brenda Elmer, Steve Gehrtz and Nancy Otto.

The other three council members voted for Haglund: Chuck Hendrickson, Mari Dailey and Heidi Durand.

Haglund told Mean Read after the vote that he’s considering a future run for council. “I don’t know right now. But I probably will. I have a lot to offer in public service.”

Fabian will replace Councilman Jim Haney, who is quitting.


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