Cloquet City Administrator Aaron Reeves has accepted a job in Hudson, Wis.
Reeves, who started in Cloquet in October 2017, will replace the retiring city administrator in Hudson. His last day with the City of Cloquet is Sept. 5, and he will begin in Hudson shortly after, he told the Pine Journal on Friday, July 26.
Hudson’s hiring process started in April, the Hudson Star-Observer reported. Hudson Mayor Rich O’Connor said the city received great feedback on Reeves’ candidacy.
“Aaron is very personable and knowledgeable on all aspects of city government,” O’Connor said in a story Thursday, July 25.
“I look forward to working with the mayor, council, staff and citizens of such a beautiful and well-run city,” Reeves said.
Reeves told the Pine Journal that “a number of positive changes” have occurred since he has worked in Cloquet, including the City Hall relocation to a new building and a tax levy decrease this year, as well as a potentially minimal increase in 2020.
“The city is moving in a positive direction and I am grateful to have had the opportunity to work with the past and current mayor and council members and city staff to bring positive change to the city,” he said. “I wish the city the best of luck moving forward.”
During his short tenure in Cloquet, Reeves led a city embroiled in conflict and controversy, including a number of council and police department resignations, terminations, investigations and turnover of elected officials.
On Feb. 5, former Cloquet Police Chief Wade Lamirande filed complaints against Reeves and Assistant City Administrator James Barclay. Reeves was accused of mishandling Cloquet's Citizen Advisory Board, while Barclay was accused of failing to comply with public data requests violating city policy.
The council ordered an investigation into the complaints and retained an attorney, whose investigation found no evidence of wrongdoing by Barclay or Reeves. The council unanimously voted to take no disciplinary action against either employee.
Reeves has also been a finalist for other city administrator positions in the past year.
He was one of four finalists scheduled to interview Saturday, July 27, for a job in Hastings, Minn., the Hastings Star Gazette reported. Reeves confirmed for the Pine Journal he withdrew his application a week ago.
In September, Reeves applied for a position in Burnsville, Minn., but rejected an invitation to become a finalist, according to the Pioneer Press.
Reeves came to Cloquet after working in Rochester, Minn., for less than a year as the assistant city administrator and for nearly three years as city clerk before his promotion. He left Rochester partially because he wasn’t hired for the city administrator job, he told KAAL-TV at the time.
Prior to Rochester, Reeves was the city administrator of Cannon Falls, Minn., for six years and the city administrator of Kenyon for over five years.
The Cloquet City Council will discuss the process of finding Reeves’ replacement during the Aug. 7 meeting.
The previous Cloquet city administrator, Brian Fritsinger, served in the position from 1999 to 2017, when he took his current job as assistant deputy administrator of St. Louis County.