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Ben Dow becomes permanent public works chief in Fargo

The acting director who took over Fargo's Public Works Department when the city began its investigation into then-director Al Weigel has been named the permanent replacement.

Ben Dow
Ben Dow has been named Fargo's new public works director. Dow had been acting director since the city began its investigation of then-director Al Weigel. David Samson / The Forum

The acting director who took over Fargo's Public Works Department when the city began its investigation into then-director Al Weigel has been named the permanent replacement.

Ben Dow became the interim director in February when the city placed Weigel on administrative leave.

City officials fired Weigel in March for ignoring the city's purchasing policy by steering $214,000 in city business to Epic Solutions of Fargo without getting bids from competing firms. Epic's president and vice president were also partners with Weigel in Quad Investments, a company that leases space to Epic.

The city interviewed four candidates Thursday, but City Administrator Pat Zavoral said Dow's existing understanding of the job set him apart.

Dow came into the position in February during Weigel's investigation and eventual termination, a tumultuous time for the city and department.

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Dow has done a good job as acting director, and staff morale has improved, Zavoral said.

The Public Works Department is responsible for street maintenance, snow removal, water mains, the city fleet and city forestry.

As a college student, Dow started working as a full-time operator in Fargo's Streets Department.

"I started sanding streets, plowing snow, cleaning sewers, blowing boulevards and got a very good understanding of what takes place in public works," the 35-year-old said.

After earning a computer information systems degree from the University of Mary in Bismarck, Dow went to work as a division manager for Moorhead's Streets, Sanitation and Central Garage.

In 2006, Dow returned to the city of Fargo, working in the Engineering Department for a couple of years before becoming Weigel's No. 2 as the public works services manager.

Dow's pay hasn't been finalized, but the salary for the position will range from $73,383 to $110,169, said Jill Minette, the city's human resources director.

Mayor Dennis Walaker served as the city's public works operations director before Weigel.

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Readers can reach Forum reporter Heidi Shaffer at (701) 241-5511

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