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Forum editorial: Criticism of bus tour is a crock

The Fargo City Commission has bigger fish to fry than the red herring netted by Commissioner Dave Piepkorn this week. The commissioner, who returned to the commission after a four-year hiatus (he was defeated, sat it out, and then was elected), scolded Deputy Mayor Tim Mahoney because Mahoney and City Administrator Pat Zavoral did not take a bus on a fact-finding tour by city officials to Sioux Falls, S.D., and Lincoln, Neb. Because of other city business and personal commitments, Mahoney and Zavoral took a plane to join the group on the evening of Aug. 25.

If pettiness were the coin of the realm, Piepkorn would be wealthy. He said, “The message that was sent by you (Mahoney) and Pat was your time is much more valuable than all the people that were on that bus.”

What a crock.

Mahoney made sure he not only joined the tour but first got to a meeting in Rosemont, Minn., about the F-M diversion. Zavoral missed the bus because he attended a funeral. Both men hopped an airplane so they could join other Fargo officials and business people in Lincoln. In other words, they were able to cover all their obligations, including participating in the bus tour.

Piepkorn, who owns a business, was able to get away for the entire multi-day bus tour. Good for him. Not everyone has that luxury. Mahoney in particular has a professional life outside of his service on the commission. He’s a surgeon. The demands of that work can be challenging, to say the least.

City commissioners are expected to be serious about conducting the public’s business. Most of the time, they are. The hope is Piepkorn’s fatuous foozle is not a sign of things to come.

Forum editorials represent the opinion of Forum management and the newspaper’s Editorial Board.

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