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Internal candidate chosen as new Davenport Fire Department chief

Davenport Fire Chief Michael Carlsten

DAVENPORT, Iowa — The new Davenport Fire Department chief is a 24-year veteran of the department and current district chief.

Michael Carlsten was announced as the new chief on Tuesday, May 9. He was the only internal candidate of three finalists who interviewed for the job this past April.

Carlsten selection comes amid the ongoing legal battle between former Chief Lynn Washburn, who was fired by City Administrator Corri Spiegel in July, 2017. Later in 2017, the city’s Civil Service Commission ruled the city to re-hire Washburn as a district chief, but the city is fighting that ruling in court. Spiegel and Washburn have continued exchanging barbs through their legal team as the court date nears.

Carlsten currently serves as the department’s technical rescue coordinator and has specialized training in Haz-Mat and technical rescue.

“I am excited and honored at this opportunity to lead an outstanding department” Carlsten was quoted in a city-distributed media release.  “I look forward to the future of the city of Davenport and the Davenport Fire Department.”

In the same release, Spiegel wrote that Carlsten’s proven track record in the “management  of fire service incidents and first responder initiatives, extensive experience in negotiations, planning and project management and demonstrated skill in the development and execution of large and small scale response plans”  makes him well-suited for the job.

“He is a great coach and a strong leader of people,” she continued.

Chief Carlsten has a Master’s degree in Organizational Leadership from St. Ambrose University, Davenport, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Organizational Management from Ashford University, Clinton, Iowa. He recently received a certificate from the Certified Public Manager program at Drake University, and has an Associate’s degree in Fire Science Technology from Illinois Central College, East Peoria, Illinois.

Carlsten will begin his duties as chief on May 10 and will be paid $119,000 per year.