Using the word "chief" in something like a job title is viewed by some Native Americans and others as offensive, so the City of Duluth is looking to remove the word from key job titles.

According to an article from, the idea to remove "chief" from job titles was initially brought up by City staff members, who believed more inclusive language could be used.

On Monday, the City Council is expected to take up an amendment to the city charter that would rename the "chief administrative officer” job title to “city administrator.”  Also, the “chief financial officer” job title would become “finance director.”

Duluth Mayor Emily Larson explained the move in the MPR article by saying:

“We are dropping the name ‘chief’ with intention and with purpose so we have more inclusive leadership, and less language that is rooted in hurt and offensive and intentional marginalization”


The city’s charter commission is completely on board and they have unanimously supported making the change.

A natural question that would arise from this is what about the titles of Fire Chief and Police Chief.  Is the City of Duluth looking at changing those job titles too?

Mayor Larson says that both Police Chief Mike Tusken and Fire Chief Shawn Krizaj open to the possibilities of a exploring a job title change.  However, it gets more difficult with those positions since those specific job titles are used nationwide in both local communities and within professional organizations and affiliations associated with the professions.

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