WEST FARGO — With less than a week until the deadline for filing seats at the West Fargo City Commission, Park Board and School Board, it looks like the majority of the city’s races will go uncontested.
West Fargo Chief Financial Officer Jim Larson said as of Monday, April 4, only City Commissioner Brad Olson and newcomer Roben Anderson had filed for the June 14 ballot. Mayor Bernie Dardis has submitted a letter of intent to file, but he has yet to file the required 300 signatures candidates must submit to be considered as candidates.
Larson said he has yet to receive a single application for one of the three open seats on the West Fargo Park board. However, Park District Chief Financial Officer Justin Germundson said the three incumbents, Jeff McCracken, Chris Heise and Jake Lauritsen, announced they would seek re-election and were circulating petitions.
In the school board race, three of the four incumbents, Jessica Jackson, Jon Erickson and Mark Staples, filed a case with West Fargo Schools Business Manager Levi Bachmeier. The fourth outgoing president and current chairman of the board, Jim Jonas, has announced his intention to run, but has not officially filed.
Jonas hopes to simultaneously serve the school district and the state. He will seek Republican endorsement as a representative from District 13 in the state House of Representatives.
Newcomer Scott Kasprick ran for school board on Monday, April 4
Prospective school board candidates must file with Bachmeier by 4 p.m. on Monday, April 11. Candidates for City Council and Park seats must collect a petition of 300 signatures from West Fargo voters and file it at City Hall by April 11.
Dardis said this week that he preferred to go beyond the required 300 signatures and that he planned to file the petition on Monday.
In addition to the mayor seat, two city commission seats will be on the ballot. The seats of Olson and Commissioner Eric Gjerdevig are up for election in the June 14 ballot, but Gjerdevig has decided not to run again.
“I’m not running for re-election,” Gjerdevig said. “I’m not sure there’s a single reason, but I just have other priorities I’m looking to spend my time on over the next two years, so I’m putting the pause button on that for now. ”
Like Gjerdevig, Olson was first elected to the West Fargo City Commission in 2018, but feels his job isn’t done yet at West Fargo and has opted to seek re-election.
The retired USDA employee served on the municipal commission in Bowbells, North Dakota before moving to West Fargo in 2006. He continues to volunteer as a hunter education teacher in cooperation with the North Dakota Game and Fish Department.
“I’ve basically been in public service, my entire adult life,” Olson said. “I have worked for the federal government since I was 22 years old. I have always served the public, even though it was farmers and ranchers. This position is similar in nature, serving and giving back what I can.”
Olson said he wants to continue serving on the commission while the city goes through its decommissioning of the sewage lagoon project and redevelops north of Sheyenne Street. He also hopes to continue to help grow West Fargo’s retail and business base, which will reduce the burden of residential property taxes and special assessments.
Although Anderson is a new face on the city commission, he currently sits on the West Fargo Special Assessment Commission.
Anderson is a financial analyst at Doosan Bobcat, a position he says made him interested in serving on the city commission because he has “the skills and passion for finding the ‘why’ behind the numbers and how they affect day-to-day processes. “. Anderson grew up in Portland, Oregon, graduated from the University of North Dakota and is married to a West Fargo native.
West Fargo City Judge Michelle Dornoski chose not to run again. Although he has yet to file a case, attorney Trent Barkus announced in March that he would seek election as the city’s sole judge.
To file a request for a seat on the board of directors of the city or the park, it is necessary to file a
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with the city before 4 p.m. Monday, April 11.
To apply for a seat on the West Fargo School Board, potential candidates who live in the school district can file two forms, one certifying that they are eligible for election and live in the district and an Expression of Interest . Forms must be dropped off by 4 p.m. on Monday, April 11 with the Bachmeier office.