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Dome panel supports new company

Members of the Fargodome policy board, as well as Dome director Paul Johnson, are taking a unified stand in support of their chosen management company.

Members of the Fargodome policy board, as well as Dome director Paul Johnson, are taking a unified stand in support of their chosen management company.

The seven-member Dome Authority is asking the City Commission to do the same next week.

In a special meeting Wednesday, the dome panel voted unanimously on a resolution favoring the East Coast management company Global Spectrum. The resolution will be sent to city commissioners for consideration.

Board members Dave Piepkorn and Erv Inninger were absent from the meeting and did not vote.

Johnson, who would remain in the executive director role under Global Spectrum, originally submitted a bid to manage the facility himself, but later withdrew it under pressure from his employer.

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The Fargo City Commission has been asking to see Johnson's bid since April 28 because the contents of it had been discussed among Dome Authority members.

On Tuesday, Johnson turned over the bid to the city. Johnson said Wednesday he's throwing his full support behind Global Spectrum.

"In the best interest of the Fargodome, I feel Global Spectrum is the best of the two proposals," Johnson said, adding his proposal is "no longer on the table."

But some board members say they are concerned city commissioners will review Johnson's proposal, and it is unclear what they'll want to do with it. Also, most on the Dome Authority still have not seen it.

"If the City Commission has the proposal, shouldn't we?" asked the Dome Authority's Kris Sheridan.

Board member Marilyn Guy said she's more concerned now that city commissioners have Johnson's proposal.

The Fargodome has been affiliated with a national management company since its beginning. Such companies oversee dome operations, including financial matters, and are generally credited for booking major events at the facility.

The City Commission will vote on the issue Monday.

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Commissioner John Cosgriff said the outcome is anyone's guess. One scenario would have the bidding process redone.

The problem with that, Cosgriff said, is the dome's current management contract with Aramark Entertainment -- the parent company of competing bidder SMG -- ends June 30.

The commission also could accept the dome's recommendation and approve Global Spectrum.

Two wild card possibilities, according to Cosgriff, would have city officials offering the contract to Johnson or SMG.

"We're truly in a no-win situation at this point," Cosgriff said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Mary Jo Almquist at (701) 241-5531

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