New Grand Forks mayor cuts community liaison position at City Hall

Brandon Bochenski, who ran on a campaign of a leaner government, cut the position held by city staffer Pete Haga.

Pete Haga

The day after taking the oath of office, Mayor Brandon Bochenski made his second personnel move at Grand Forks City Hall.

Bochenski fired Pete Haga, the city’s community and government relations officer, on Wednesday, June 24. A release sent to the media said the position was "vacated." Bochenski clarified that term later with the Herald, saying he does not intend to re-fill the post.

Bochenski said he would take on some of Haga’s duties and city staff will take over the remainder.

“We’re going to realign the mayor’s office and trim budgets,” Bochenski said.

The mayor said he doesn't have other notable staff changes planned in the near future.


“I don’t intend on there being much more movement at all,” Bochenski said. “I think that was one of the main ones.”

In a news release sent shortly after 5 p.m., city staff said Haga had foregone the 90 days of employment he was guaranteed after Bochenski was sworn in.

The mayor declined to say what Haga’s salary was, but the city’s 2020 salary plan indicates that Haga earned $105,914 annually, plus benefits. He was the recipient of a $25,000 raise in 2012.

Bochenski this month ousted longtime Mayor Mike Brown after campaigning for a leaner municipal government. Bochenski indicated last week that he plans to keep Todd Feland, the city’s administrator, on board, and told the Herald on Wednesday that he does not intend to fill Haga’s position anytime soon or hire any of his now-former campaign workers.

“I’ll be running the city with less support staff,” Bochenski said.

Shortly after he was sworn in Tuesday evening, Bochenski appointed a new city attorney to replace Howard Swanson, who had held the job for decades. Grand Forks City Council members unanimously approved the move.


When reached for comment, Haga directed the Herald to a post on his personal Facebook page. In it, Haga wrote that he respects Bochenski's decision and that he plans to spend "much-owed" time with his family.

Brandon Bochenski
Brandon Bochenski

Joe Bowen is an award-winning reporter at the Duluth News Tribune. He covers schools and education across the Northland.

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