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Cloquet Area Fire District Board appoints assistant chief

After voting to establish the position at its last meeting, the Cloquet Area Fire District Board voted to appoint Corey Larson as its new assistant Chief.

Cloquet Area Fire District headquarters
The Cloquet Area Fire District
Jamey Malcomb / 2020 file / Pine Journal
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SCANLON — The Cloquet Area Fire District Board voted to appoint Corey Larson as the new district assistant chief, during its meeting Wednesday, June 15.

The assistant chief position was created during the last board meeting, and will take over the responsibilities of the previous administrative director position.

Fire Chief Jesse Buhs presented his recommendation to end the search for the district administrative director position and instead search internally for an assistant fire chief to carry out the needed duties.

Fire Chief Jesse Buhs said Larson was the only candidate for the position but he was a qualified candidate and recommended him to the board for the position.

Buhs added that more administrative positions usually get less applicants as people may not want to stray away from the operations side of the job.

"Everything I have seen so far that he has put his hands on has improved," Buhs said. "Larson has the respect and trust of district staff."

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Larson will start as a step 1 on the pay scale and will receive a salary of $90,300.

Board member Bruce Blacketter, who took part in the interview process, said Larson was satisfactory in every way.

"I felt very comfortable with the chief's recommendation that we hire him into the position," he said.

Larson thanked the board for its support and said he looked forward to starting in the position.

Corey Larson
Corey Larson was appointed as the Cloquet Area Fire District's new assistant chief, Wednesday, June 15.
Dylan Sherman / Cloquet Pine Journal

"This role is so new and I'm excited for all the opportunities that will arise," he said.

Larson has served as the district training officer for two and a half years, and prior to his time in Cloquet he worked for the Superior Fire Department as an emergency medical service director.

As for why he was interested in a more administrative role, Larson said after he received his bachelor's degree, and is working on a master's degree, he became more interested in aspects of administration and leadership.

Working on long-range planning is one of the things he is looking forward to most.

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"Quality improvement in all aspects of the fire service," he said.

The board also approved the hire of six paid-on-call positions, three of which will be used to bolster the staff at Station 4.

Board members were pleased with the hires and Blacketter voted with an "enthusiastic" yes in support of the motion.

Buhs said it is a significant number to be hired at one time, and that Larson had streamlined the process to be more suitable for applicants.

In the past Buhs said the longer process would make prospective applicants lose interest in the position.

In other district business, the board will receive a final report on the study it paid for to study the costs the ambulance service has on the district.

A draft presentation was made to the finance committee earlier this month, but the final report will be given to the entire board along with the public during a special meeting.

While the special meeting does have a specific date yet, the district intends on informing all member communities once the meeting is set.

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Board member Doug Wolf, a member of the finance committee, said the draft was well presented and thorough.

"(The report) had good recommendations but there are some decisions that need to be made," he said.

The district has also voted to move its meeting location from the Scanlon Community Center to the Cloquet Public Library.

This will allow for more public space and attendance for future meetings.

MORE FROM DYLAN SHERMAN:
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Dylan covers the local governments of Cloquet and Carlton County, as well as the Esko and Wrenshall school boards for the Cloquet Pine Journal.
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