Fargo Finance Director fired following internal investigation

Courtesy: City of Fargo
Courtesy: City of Fargo

(Fargo, ND) -- Fargo's Finance Director is no longer working with the city following her termination earlier this week.

The firing stems from an internal report sent to WDAY Radio by city officials. The report says the investigations began on December 2nd,  2022, following an exit interview conducted for a Finance Manager. The exit interview described Gayhart as someone who was constantly late to meetings, using inappropriate language when speaking about employees, generally lacking communication skills, and the key reason why she left the department after 15-and-a-half years of service in the city.

The interview sparked a series of performance coaching meetings on February 1st and 13th of 2023. On March 14th, Fargo's City Administrator and Human Resources Director met with Mayor Tim Mahoney to discuss complaints levied against the Finance Director. Gayhart was later placed on administrative leave on March 31st, and other city officials were told an investigation would occur to determine the validity of the claims.

The investigation found Gayhart had lacked professionalism, communication and leadership skills, and was a poor resource for the Finance Department. Other claims made during investigation interviews say Gayhart alienated team members she felt threatened by, banged her fists against tables, called city employees "dumb, cruddy, or worthless," and generally had very little communication with the team. In addition, the report found that Gayhart only had conflicts with female members of the team, and that "She treats the male members of the team better than the female members." The report says Gayhart violated ethics and conduct policy by failing to treat finance team members equally. 

Gayhart denies several of the allegations made against her by former employees. She claims never to have used words like dumb, cruddy or worthless when referring to employees. She also does not recall instances of calling a commissioner dumb or making comments about someone's physical appearance. Gayhart also does not remember a single example of her banging fists against desks.