Minneapolis mayor taps Public Works director to lead Office of Public Service

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey announced Tuesday he has selected Public Works Director Margaret Anderson Kelliher as Minneapolis’ new city operations officer.

If approved, Anderson Kelliher would oversee 17 separate departments under the umbrella of the Office of Public Service, including the Civil Rights, Public Works, and Racial Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging departments.

She would take the place of interim City Operations Officer Heather Johnston as one of four appointed positions that report directly to the mayor under the city’s new government structure finalized last year.

Before the City Council confirmed Anderson Kelliher as Public Works director last February, she served in Gov. Tim Walz’s cabinet as Minnesota’s transportation commissioner. She was also a member of the Minnesota House of Representatives for 12 years and held the gavel as House speaker from 2007-11.

“Every mayor in the country needs a leader like Margaret Anderson Kelliher — someone who has been navigating challenges and solving problems for their entire public service career,” Frey said in a statement. “Margaret’s governing resume is second to none and her community ties are built over decades — that combination of commitment and expertise is exactly what we need in our City Operations Officer.”

The mayor lauded Anderson Kelliher’s work for the city, particularly her department’s response to one of the snowiest winters in Minneapolis history, opening temporary parking during snow emergencies while plows cleared city streets. Frey also claimed Public Works filled more potholes in 2023 than in any year since 2013.

“Public service is defined by those who show up every day to serve the community they love and care about — and that’s exactly what the team in the Office of Public Service does,” Anderson Kelliher said in a statement. “I am excited to continue working with our incredible City staff on behalf of the Minneapolis community and deliver effective, efficient, and equitable services to all residents. I’m grateful to Mayor Frey for placing his trust in me, and I look forward to cultivating and shaping the future work of the City of Minneapolis.”

The full Minneapolis City Council could consider Anderson Kelliher’s nomination as soon as Thursday.