Swanson announces resignation from Cloquet City Council
Ward 3 Councilor Chris Swanson said his resignation comes after he plans on moving out of his ward.
CLOQUET — Ward 3 Councilor Chris Swanson announced his resignation from the Cloquet City Council due to moving out of his ward boundary, during a council meeting Tuesday, July 19.
Swanson said he was disappointed and that it is not fun to be in this situation.
"Unfortunately it is only a couple of blocks south of Ward 3," he said.
While he is resigning from the position, he said he will still be in town and intends to be a part of the community.
"I'll see if I can still remain on the library board," he said.
Swanson said he has enjoyed his time working with the council, from large things like bonding for projects to dealing with vandalism on signs.
"I continue to believe that a strong city and strong residents can help make our town a better place to live," he said.
Swanson's resignation will be effective Aug. 17, and has served on the council since 2019, when he was appointed to the position for a similar vacancy from previous councilor Dakota Koski .
He hopes that some of those interested in the position in 2019 will still be interested and run a write-in campaign for the seat.
City Administrator Tim Peterson thanked Swanson for his service to the council and greatly appreciated working with him.
"I think that the approach you have brought to being a city councilor is pretty much everything we can ask," he said.
Logistically, Peterson said the council has to look out for the November election as Swanson's seat will be on the ballot and he was the only candidate that filed.
The best outcome for the city would be for a write-in candidate to win, as if Swanson wins the city would have to appoint someone to the position until the next general election or hold a special election.
Peterson said his recommendation would be to appoint someone for two years, as it would be costly to hold a special election for just one ballot item.
In the time between Swanson's resignation and the election, Peterson said Ward 3 residents can reach out to the At-Large Councilor Lara Wilkinson, Mayor Roger Maki or himself if they have any questions or concerns within their ward.
Swanson joked that he would now be campaigning against himself in November.
"This fall will be one of the strangest campaigns, the 'please don't vote for me campaign,'" he said.
In other council business, the council also accepted the resignation of Douglas Wolf from the Cloquet Area Fire District Board, as he moved outside the limits of Cloquet.
Wolf's resignation letter to the board stated he enjoyed his time on the board, and he didn't have the intention of moving when appointed in January.
"Although my time on the CAFD Board was short, I hope I have made a positive contribution to the organization," he said in his letter.
Despite this resignation, the council had another application to the board seat, which it unanimously voted to fill.
Erik Thorp will be the newest member to represent Cloquet on the CAFD board.
Thorp has lived in Cloquet for seven years and currently works as a paramedic in Duluth.
Peterson said Thorp will be a great fit as he is someone who has experience in fire and emergency medical services for over 12 years.
The meeting's public comment portion also had comments from residents on Kelly Avenue, who voiced their displeasure with a residence in the neighborhood and the Cloquet Police Department's response.
Greta Winter-Jarvinen, a resident on Kelly Avenue, said there has been suspicious activity at one of the residences and that multiple children are living there, the garbage is piling up and there is alleged drug activity.
Winter-Jarvinen, who is a chemical dependency counselor, said she has even seen some of her clients at the residence.
"None of us feel safe and we don't know what to do," she said.
Winter-Jarvinen said there is also a frequent police presence in the area.
Leah Mrozik, another resident, said her house and vehicle have been vandalized by a child from the residence.
Mrozik added that people have wandered up to her house and she has found needles in the area as well.
"What kind of situation is that for my kids?" she said. "Nothing is ever done."
Mrozik said she has made multiple calls to the police, but the situation has not changed and the department suggested she get security cameras.
"It is embarrassing," she said.
Peterson said he will get a meeting sorted between those in attendance for the meeting and the police department to better understand the concerns.
The residents in attendance agreed a meeting between the parties would be a good next step.
"We'd like to have that meeting and just start by having a conversation," he said.