Verifiable information and tax records that have been available to the city for months show Commissioner Piepkorn’s assertion’s on a radio program yesterday about Lutheran Social Services are simply not true.
Commissioner Piepkorn was on air saying the following without any verifiable information provided. His on air assertions include:
1. Jessica Thomasson CEO of Lutheran Social Services makes $350,000 a year . Tax records provided to the city after he asked months ago show her actual salary is $143,000.
2. LSS spent $15,000,000 on “Taj Mahal” new building. Records show total cost after a 6 year fund raising effort a cost was actually $5,000,000.
3. Said he has no doubt LSS is behind the potential recall effort. LSS representatives categorically deny any involvement.
My perspective is: Beyond Commissioner Piepkorn not having a credible basis for his statements being disappointing, it’s actually counter productive to getting a more fact based picture of the total impact refugees and New Americans provide in our city. His questions about cost alone does not help provide the answers for the overall impacts that must also include the massive verifiable information showing the overall positive impact of refugees and New Americans to our community and state.
Just one example is this study done by some of the highest profile corporations in the country showing in 2014, New Americans earned $559.600,000 in North Dakota. http://www.renewoureconomy.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/nae-nd-report.pdf
As far as a potential recall? I believe they are simply exploring all their options, and I would suggest they choose to not petition for recall and instead continue to use verifiable information that shows the large contribution to our economy and community and find candidates that understand a welcoming Fargo is a stronger and more interesting Fargo for the next scheduled election.
I believe Fargo is a much stronger community when we prove we are a welcoming community. Our many accolades for high quality of life and national recognition as best performing city, wonderful place to raise our families and to start our own businesses escalated as we welcomed more people from around the world to help us become a more global city.
We do our best and our best chance for reaching our great potential is when we respect one another and demonstrate that people are our greatest asset and that we’re always better together!