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St. Paul Fire Chief leaves


St. Paul Fire Chief Doug Holton on Thursday accepted an offer to become Milwaukee fire chief. Holton was unanimously selected for the position by the six-member Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission. Holton received the job offer just two years through his first four year term as St. Paul's fire chief and only weeks after he received a no-confidence vote from his St. Paul firefighters. The members of the Milwaukee commission were especially interested in Holton's ambitions to diversify the mostly white department. Holton will begin his stated 4-year term for the Milwaukee Fire Department within the next 45 days. Controversy with Houlton’s management began in March when rank-and-file St. Paul firefighters a 366-6 no-confidence vote against Holton. A department-wide audit of the situation by an independent consultant blamed both Holton and the unions for departmental conflict. Holton continues to maintain that his decision to accept the Milwaukee job offer had nothing to do with the no-confidence vote. Holton will be returning to his hometown of Milwaukee where he spent 25 years of his career as firefighter.

The article by Pioneer Press chose to focus on the troubles Houlton faced as chief of the St. Paul Fire Department. The article details how he and St. Paul's largest firefighter union - International Association of Fire Fighters Local 21, continually butted heads over department issues. The story written by the Star tribune with contribution from the Associated Press took the angle of Houlton’s history as a firefighter in Milwaukee and as a chief here in St. Paul. Both stories were quite different in their portrayals of Houlton. The Pioneer Press focused more on the negatives of Houlton’s career, while the Tribune covered the various accomplishments of his career; giving us an idea why he was chosen over four other finalists for the position.

click here for the Pioneer Press Story

or click the title for the Trib's article

click here for the Pioneer Press Story