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Fargo city commissioner to propose ward system, adding seats to commission

If passed, Commissioner Tony Gehrig's three measures could be on the ballot during the 2022 primary election.

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Fargo City Commissioner Tony Gehrig
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FARGO — A Fargo city commissioner is looking to change the structure of the commission and bring the option to voters during the next election cycle.

During the City Commission's Monday, July 12, meeting, Commissioner Tony Gehrig is expected to propose three questions be added to the 2022 election ballot.

According to the meeting agenda, Gehrig will propose asking voters to decide on instating a ward system, increasing the number of commissioners and either keeping or removing term limits.

A ward system would allow commissioners to oversee what's going on in their own neighborhoods, much like members of the Moorhead City Council do. Currently, all commissioners are at-large and do not represent specified areas of the city.

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Gehrig's second proposal is increasing the number of commissioners to seven, up from the current five.

Finally, Gehrig is also asking for a discussion on term limits for both commissioners and the mayor, specifically a legal interpretation of the limits and how they affect sitting commissioners.

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Mayor Dr. Tim Mahoney in City Hall. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor

A Fargo city ordinance established in 1992 states each commissioner and the mayor get three four-year terms, and if a sitting commissioner is ever elected mayor, they can serve an additional term.

This is the case for current Fargo Mayor Tim Mahoney, who was on the commission when he won a special mayoral election in 2015 after then-Mayor Dennis Walaker died of cancer in December of 2014.

City commissioners will meet Monday night, and this discussion is expected to take place at the end of the meeting, according to the commission's agenda.

Tanner Robinson is a producer for First News on WDAY-TV.
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