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Published February 22 2010

Firefighter gives up Casselton volunteer job for promotion in Fargo

A Fargo firefighter recently promoted to captain was told he’d have to give up his position on the Casselton, N.D., volunteer fire department if he wanted to advance.

Joe Mangin previously served as assistant chief in Casselton. He had stepped down from that role but was still a Casselton firefighter when he was offered the promotion by the Fargo Fire Department, Fargo Assistant Chief Dean Meyer said.

Mangin was given the choice of accepting the promotion or continuing to be a Casselton firefighter, Meyer said last week.

“The problem is that we compete for grants and other funding with Casselton,” as well as other large volunteer fire departments, including West Fargo, Meyer said.

Mangin was the only Fargo firefighter serving on Casselton’s department, which has about 30 volunteers, Casselton Fire Chief Tim McLean said.

“It doesn’t leave us short-handed, and we have somebody else that filled his position,” McLean said, declining to comment further.

Casselton Mayor Ed McConnell said last week he hadn’t heard about Mangin’s exit, calling it “unfortunate.”

“Well, it’s always a concern,” he said. “We need all the bodies we can get, especially experienced ones. That’s just kind of the nature of the beast nowadays in a small town.”

Mangin, who lives in Casselton, said there’s no bad blood between the two departments.

“It was my choice. I’m fine with it,” he said.

Several Fargo fire captains serve on area volunteer fire departments: Capt. Kevin Bernier is fire chief in Abercrombie, N.D., Capt. Bob Cuchna is chief in Glyndon, Minn., and Capt. Leroy Skarloken is on the Davenport, N.D., department, Meyer said.

Those departments don’t compete with Fargo for funding, he said.

Mangin’s promotion officially takes effect today. Ron Guggisberg and Dave Conrad also were promoted to captain, Meyer said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Mike Nowatzki at (701) 241-5528