5 things to know today: Fisk departure, MSUM president, Spectator conduct, Computer class, Humanities Medal – InForum

1. Trail of firings, meetings, emails detail events preceding West Fargo administrator’s abrupt departure

When City Administrator Tina Fisk left her resignation letter on the desk of Mayor Bernie Dardis the morning of Wednesday, March 15, for some, the resignation seemed abrupt.

Others, including elected city leaders, had voiced concerns about her performance, and one had told her he was ready to call for her termination.

Less than 10 days earlier, when Commissioner Mark Simmons requested the city reinstate annual performance reviews of all employees at the March 6 commission meeting, he said it would potentially prevent what recently happened in the finance department.

Simmons and other commissioners refused to elaborate on that comment at the time, but information obtained by The Forum indicates the firing of several finance department staff members is part of what prompted Fisk’s departure.

West Fargo Communications Director Melissa Richard said no formal complaints had been filed in the past few months against anyone in the finance department or against Fisk.

Read more from The Forum’s Wendy Reuer

2. MSUM’s next president says university must keep challenging itself: ‘We can’t become complacent’

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Tim Downs was introduced Friday, March 24, 2023, as the next president of Minnesota State University Moorhead.

Chris Flynn / The Forum

As Tim Downs took the stage at the Roland Dille Center for the Arts on Friday, March 24, he said his heart “was swelling with Dragon pride.”

Downs, the next president of Minnesota State University Moorhead, will succeed current President Anne Blackhurst starting July 1. Blackhurst has been president of MSUM since 2014 and plans to retire.

The Board of Trustees of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system chose Downs from among five finalists, and his selection was announced Wednesday.

Downs, who’s currently the interim chief of staff at California State Polytechnic University, Humboldt, was greeted on the MSUM campus by staff and students at a gathering Friday. He told the crowd he will work toward a smooth transition, which he described as a “mind meld” with Blackhurst.

“Throughout the application process I felt a connection. The strong culture of

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