Michelle Donarski, '95, sworn in as West Fargo Municipal Judge

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News Article

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Campus Unit

School of Law


Michelle Donarski was sworn in Monday night as West Fargo’s sole municipal judge by Mayor Rich Mattern.

Mattern recommended Donarski for the job. She replaces longtime Municipal Judge Susan Bailey, who was elected to a Cass County District judgeship in November after winning the municipal seat in the June election.

Donarski will serve as the city’s municipal judge for the remainder of Bailey’s four-year term, which ends in 2019.

“I’d like to thank the commission for nominating me,” Donarski said Monday. “I’m excited and I’m honored, and I look forward to serving the citizens of West Fargo.”

Her husband and two daughters were at Monday‘s speedy ceremony, as well as her parents.

City Administrator Jim Brownlee said three candidates applied for the municipal position but Donarski has been serving as an alternate municipal judge in West Fargo for about nine years.

Mattern said the choice to name Donarski to the bench was an easy one with her experience.

Donarski, an attorney with Anderson, Bottrell and Thompson has been a West Fargo resident for more than 12 years and has served as board president of the Fargo Cass Board of Health, Make-A-Wish Foundation of North Dakota and on the Fargo Civil Service Commission.

She graduated from Minnesota State University Moorhead and received her juris degree from the University of North Dakota.

She has served as an alternate municipal judge in West Fargo since 2005 and an alternate Fargo judge since 2013.

The West Fargo municipal court hears cases of city ordinance violations and Class B misdemeanors. In 2014, the West Fargo municipal judge was paid an annual salary of $30,489.

Court is held every Wednesday. Because the West Fargo position is part-time, Donarski is allowed to hold more than one court-related position.