Transportation commissioner to head Minneapolis public works

Margaret Anderson Kelliher, Department of Transportation
Margaret Anderson Kelliher, Department of Transportation
Courtesy Minnesota Department of Administration

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey wants Minnesota's top transportation official to take over the city public works department. 

Frey said Friday that he has chosen Minnesota Department of Transportation Commissioner Margaret Anderson Kelliher to be public works director. The mayor will present the nomination to the Minneapolis City Council when it meets Monday.

“Margaret Anderson Kelliher’s leadership pedigree and volume of accomplishments in multimodal transportation for all users make her the right leader for our city’s largest department at the right time, especially given the historic federal investment in infrastructure,” Frey said in a statement announcing the choice.

The public works department is responsible for more than 1,100 miles of city streets, plus sewers, water treatment and trash disposal. The leadership position pays more than the commissioner’s job. The last director made $194,000 annually while the commissioner’s pay is capped at about $155,000 per year. 

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Anderson Kelliher has served as MnDOT commissioner for the last three years, but has yet to receive a formal confirmation vote in the state Senate.

She served in the Minnesota House for a dozen years, including four as speaker.  

She won the DFL party endorsement for governor in 2010, but lost the primary to Mark Dayton. 

“I’m honored by the trust that Mayor Frey has placed in me and look forward to working with him and the City Council to build a stronger Minneapolis,” Anderson Kelliher said in a statement.

Gov. Tim Walz picked Anderson Kelliher to head MnDOT in late 2018, before he took office, and said Friday she would continue as transportation commissioner until she is approved by the Minneapolis City Council.

“Commissioner Anderson Kelliher is an extraordinary public servant, and I am deeply grateful for her leadership at the Department of Transportation,” said Walz in a statement of his own.