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Our View…Civic service breeds civic pride

The city of Cloquet is in the midst of significant change right now. As with many other businesses and civic entities, the city is seeing a higher-than-usual rate of retirement as employees reach certain PERA benchmarks and/or the Baby Boomer generation comes of retirement age.

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It’s a natural form of attrition, but one that can shake the foundation of the status quo nonetheless.

Fortunately, there are good people waiting in the wings to step up to the plate. Last Friday’s announcement that Duluth Police Lieutenant and long-time Esko resident Steve Stracek will be taking over the reins as Cloquet Police Chief was good news. Stracek has already risen to the top among his peers in Duluth and has the kind of administrative and analytic experience, street savvy and local connections that our city needs to continue the good work that has already been started by retired chief Wade Lamirande and staff.

Cloquet High School graduate and city street department employee Matt Munter will step into the capable shoes of Gerry Manthey as city building inspector. Manthey, a key Cloquet business figure as well as city official, has set the bar high for capable, qualified job performance and dedication. Munter has been around long enough to know and understand Manthey’s job performance and work ethic and should be an excellent replacement for him.

Perhaps equally as significant as having exemplary candidates to replace the retiring employees is the fact that many of those who are leaving will not be letting their years of experience go to waste.

Lamirande has moved on to become coordinator of Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College’s Law Enforcement Program. Soon-to-retire Interim Police Chief Terry Hill is already involved in civic service as chair of the Thomson Town Board. Recently retired Cloquet Police officer Dave Hallback is running for mayor in this year’s election.

We should be grateful that the jobs here in Cloquet develop the type of civic pride and dedication to public service that nurtures good employees to stay with the system and great employees to continue serving well past retirement.

Perhaps Gerry Manthey said it best: “I think I’ve left a good legacy behind me — but mostly I feel gratitude for having had the opportunity to work here.”

Wendy Johnson