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The City of Fargo and Municipal Airport Authority Agree to Begin Separation Processes with Goal of Completion by December 31, 2021


Through terms of a mutually-agreed upon Term Sheet, The City of Fargo and the Municipal Airport Authority (MAA) have begun a process for a separation of the two entities. The Term Sheet (attached at the bottom of this post) will serve as a road map to allow substantive changes to the relationship between the two organizations.

On or before April 15, 2021, the MAA will provide a detailed report containing a “transition timeline” to ascertain providers for services currently offered by the City and paid for by the MAA (including those related to finances, information services, payroll and other human resource services). These new services will need to be fully implemented on or before December 31, 2021. Upon the approval of the MAA-provided transition plan by the City Commission, Airport employees will no longer be City employees as of December 31, 2021.

The Fargo City Commission will continue to appoint members to the MAA and the MAA will report detailed information to the City on the Airport’s financial management, audit and safety programs.

“As our contractual relationship with the MAA evolves, it is without question that Hector International will continue to be a vital community asset for the Fargo-Moorhead metro. The MAA will be fully tasked with overseeing the further development of the Airport to meet the aviation needs of the region. We look forward to members of the public providing the MAA with their input and suggestions. Forging a new relationship with the Airport Authority is a win-win as it maintains the integrity of the City’s pay plan and provides a path for more autonomy of the MAA, while ensuring continued involvement by the City,” said Mayor Dr. Tim Mahoney.

“The MAA looks forward to this transition and believes it will proceed smoothly. We further look forward to building a synergistic relationship with the City that will best benefit the customers we serve. The MAA will continue in our goal to supply the best experience to the flying public, and the businesses we serve, who make this City and surrounding areas grow and prosper. The MAA welcomes input from the public as we continue to build the Airport that tomorrow’s Fargo will need,” remarked Airport Authority Chair Erik Lind.

The City of Fargo – Municipal Airport Authority Fact Sheet
March 22, 2021

Purpose: This fact sheet is intended to be an executive summary, or “quick read” of the Term Sheet between the City and the Municipal Airport Authority (Airport).

What did the City and Airport Authority agree to? The Term Sheet serves as a road map for a process by which the Airport and City will explore some changes in their relationship with each other. The general idea is that if this process is successful, then by the end of 2021, the employees of the Airport Authority will discontinue being City employees and will fully be Airport employees. The Airport Authority would also take on services and responsibilities currently performed by the City. The current relationship between City and Airport is currently memorialized in a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) dated January 14, 2020. If the process described in the Term Sheet succeeds, the parties would expect to amend the MOU to recognize the new relationship.

What will change? In accordance with North Dakota law, namely, Chapter 2-06 (Airport Authorities Act), Hector International Airport will continue to operate as a municipal airport and be governed by the Municipal Airport Authority regardless of the process established by the Term Sheet. Under a revised or amended MOU (not yet drafted), the City would no longer provide direct support services to the Airport, such as financial services, payroll, and other human resources services.

When will these changes happen? In approximately one month (by April 15, 2021), the Airport Authority will provide the City with a detailed proposal containing a “transition timeline” for taking over services currently being provided by the City. The Airport will report to the City on financial management, audit, and its safety program on a regular basis. By December 31, 2021, employees will transition to full Airport Authority employment.

What will stay the same? Hector International Airport will continue to provide friendly, reliable air service to the Fargo-Moorhead metropolitan area and eastern North Dakota and western Minnesota. The City Commission will continue to appoint Fargo citizens to serve on the Municipal Airport Authority Board. The City Commission and Municipal Airport Authority will continue to work collaboratively to support and improve air service opportunities at Hector International Airport.