FARGO — Fargo Park District executive director Joel Vettel resigned from his position as head of the city’s park system Tuesday night, July 2, after serving nearly three years in the role.
The former detective and police spokesman turned city park leader offered his resignation, effective immediately, to Fargo Park Board commissioners on Tuesday, according to board president Rusty Papachek, who said the board is still discussing details of Vettel’s separation agreement.
When asked if Vettel’s resignation came as a surprise, Papachek said he couldn't offer any further details about the situation, and directed questions to Vettel.
Multiple phone messages left for Vettel were not returned Tuesday evening.
Fargo Park District's top official oversees the equivalent of 700 full-time employees and an annual budget of $27 million, The Forum reported in 2016.
Depending on the director’s experience, the salary can range from $125,000 to $175,000. According to a previous Forum report, Vettel started with a salary of $145,000 in 2016.
Vettel came to the park district following a long career in the Fargo Police Department, which he joined in 1997. He was promoted to sergeant in 2002, became a lieutenant in 2006 and served as spokesman for the police department from 2011 to 2015.
He returned to his role as a detective in 2015, where he led the department’s investigations unit. That same year he made a failed bid to become chief of police, losing out to current Fargo Police Chief David Todd.
Soon after, Vettel would leave the police department and take on a new role as executive director with the Fargo Park District, replacing former executive director, Roger Gress, who retired at the end of 2016 after 20 years working for the city.
Vettel came out on top in a highly competitive hiring process for the role. A search committee recommended to the park district’s five-member governing board that it should hire him after reviewing a pool of 68 candidates, The Forum reported in 2016.