What are the main issues facing Fargo and Town Manager Susan Harlow?
I think the main issues would be how involved partisanship is with the town and managing it, as well as the lack of a code of ethics for the town.
What is the basis for your answer to question #1?
Partisanship started to cause problems in Fargo when people started to move in that weren’t Republican. Then the town started to get divided on who the elected officials in charge of taking care of the town, with those that lost feeling like they don’t have any representation. While this is common in elections for feelings of not being represented, the people in Fargo had a fair basis as the affordable housing and Hispanic communities were not being given the same attention as the rest of the town.
The lack of the code of ethics caused problems for a few different reasons. The first one is that employees were lobbying for their political parties while at work. Another one is that the supervisors were getting their personal property plowed while during work hours and by the city resources, they were also using the city’s supply of salt. Hiring not based off of merit but based off of who their parents were was also going on.
What are your recommended solutions to the problems you identified?
First off, I think a code of ethics needs to be created for the town for any city employee or elected official. The next part though is where I think it would start becoming difficult. There would need to be a whole cultural shift for the city to start adapting and living by this code of ethics. Since city employees and elected officials have not had to abide by this code before, they would be changing their behaviors that they were used to. A potential overhaul of some of the staff may be required if current staff is being resistant to the cultural change.
What points do you agree, disagree or want further discussion from your follow classmates and why?
I also agreed with the consultant that they should have 5 elected officials instead of 3. I think the town needs a little more representation of the different cohorts and cultures that have recently moved in. I think that if they did have more diversity within their elected officials, it would help with some of the resistances to change as well as creating a culture of following the ethics code at work.
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