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West Fargo votes in new mayor, city commissioners

Bernie Dardis, candidate for West Fargo mayor, thanks his supporters for their work during his victory speech Tuesday, June 12, 2018, at Brewtus' Brickhouse in West Fargo. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor1 / 4
West Fargo Mayor Rich Mattern, right, checks election results with City Commissioner Mark Simmons on Tuesday, June 12, 2018, during his watch party at Boston’s Pizza, West Fargo. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor2 / 4
Eric Gjerdevig3 / 4
Brad OIson4 / 4

WEST FARGO — For the first time in 16 years, West Fargo will have a new mayor after businessman Bernie Dardis defeated incumbent Rich Mattern on Tuesday, June 12.

Voters also ushered in newcomers to the City Commission as Brad Olson and Eric Gjerdevig took the two open seats over incumbent Duane Hanson.

Dardis collected 57 percent of the vote compared to Mattern's 43 percent with all 10 precincts reporting in complete but unofficial results Tuesday. Dardis got 2,064 votes compared to Mattern's 1,548.

"I had a good run," Mattern said. "I served 16 years as mayor and four years on the City Commission before that. When you look at what West Fargo looks like today compared to 16 years ago, it's a complete transformation. I'm proud of that and I'm proud of my record. I'll go out with my head held high. The only thing I'm disappointed in is the low voter turnout."

Dardis, the former CEO of Indigo Signworks in Fargo who still works for the company as a consultant, has lived in West Fargo for more than 41 years.

"I'm excited and I'm looking forward to serving," Dardis said Tuesday. "I'm just grateful a majority of people in West Fargo listened to the message and talked about planning for the future."

In the City Commission race, Gjerdevig received 38 percent of the vote, with Olson collecting 35 percent followed by Hanson with 27 percent.

Hanson was seeking a third term.

"I just want to say 'thanks' to everyone who supported me," Hanson said. "Brad and Eric are great people, and they'll make great commissioners."

Gjerdevig is a West Fargo native who founded a technology consulting firm he sold in January. He said his strong West Fargo roots were a great support.

"I look forward to serving the citizens and the city of West Fargo," Gjerdevig said.

Olson is a program director at the U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency and former Bowbells, N.D., city commissioner. In 2014, he lost his first bid for West Fargo's commission.

"I appreciate the support and the confidence, and I'll do my best to make sure all my decisions are in the best interest of the city," Olson said.

The mayor serves a four-year term and is paid about $16,500 per year.

Commissioners are elected to an at-large, four-year term and are paid an annual salary of $11,800.

Wendy Reuer

Wendy reports for The Forum and West Fargo Pioneer, where she is also assistant editor. A University of Minnesota Morris graduate from North Dakota, Wendy started her career in television news and entertainment in Minnesota and at CBS in Television City, Calif. before working at newspapers in Minnesota and North Dakota. 

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