More Summer Ruminations

Opinion by Jack Zaleski

July 31, 2021

Fargo Mayor Tim Mahoney should be allowed to run for another term, if he so chooses. Rather than deny voters the chance to either re-elect or reject him, city commissioners should broadly interpret the ambiguity in the city charter because Mahoney is not only highly competent, but he also has demonstrated again and again that the people of Fargo respect him and value his leadership in City Hall.

Mahoney is one of the best mayors of the modern era. Maybe the best, given the challenges he has confronted that did not exist in the years before his tenure. I’ve had the privilege during my time in Fargo to see four mayors in office and to be acquainted with two others who were out of office. All were public servants of good character and varying abilities. Mahoney, however, has been outstanding not only as the city’s day-to-day mayor, but also as a vigorous, informed and fair advocate for Fargo in venues ranging from the North Dakota Legislature to the U.S. Congress to racially charged rallies in Island Park.

Additionally, the mayor has been scrupulously non-political in a volatile political environment, an attribute not readily apparent among a couple of commissioners on the right and on the left. Mahoney routinely — almost naturally — has put the city’s progressive priorities ahead of any political or ideological agenda he might harbor. He’s focused on smart growth, budget discipline, flood control and social stability; and that has meant working closely with politicians, activists and policy makers of every political stripe. He’s done that well.

Fargo is in the midst of an historic transition that has been under way for two decades. Mahoney’s leadership, in concert with smart private sector leaders and a few enlightened city commissioners, has been pivotal in enhancing the city as one of the best places in the nation to live and do business. He should be allowed to continue his good work, if city voters want him to. Prediction: If on the ballot, he’ll win by a landslide.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Forum’s editorial board nor Forum ownership.

Published with permission by Jack Zaleski