Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges on Tuesday nominated Minnesota Department of Administration Commissioner Spencer Cronk to be the new city coordinator, while a City Council committee advanced her nomination of Craig Taylor to head the Department of Community Planning and Economic Development.

Both key positions have been empty for months.

Cronk will oversee a number of city departments, including finance, information technology, the Convention Center, human resources and communications.

The city coordinator post, one of the most important positions at City Hall, has been led by interim coordinator Jay Stroebel for several months after former Mayor R.T. Rybak’s coordinator, Paul Aasen, left the city.

Cronk, who lives in Minneapolis, must win the approval of the City Council before assuming the role.

“Spencer Cronk is an energetic, collaborative and visionary leader with expertise in running complex organizations in the public and nonprofit sectors,” Hodges said in a statement.

Gov. Mark Dayton appointed Cronk to lead the Administration Department in 2011. Cronk’s department oversaw the fundamental operations of state government — from maintaining state buildings to managing a massive fleet of public vehicles. Its information division is a key resource for helping journalists, citizens and government agencies determine what government data should be public. The demographer’s office, also within the department, helps track long-term trends.

Cronk’s appointment continues a trend of top-level officials moving between the city and state government.

Dayton hired Rybak’s chief of staff, Tina Smith, to be his chief of staff, while Aasen came to the city after running the state’s Pollution Control Agency. Aasen’s predecessor, Steven Bosacker, was Gov. Jesse Ventura’s chief of staff.

Before his state appointment, Cronk worked as executive director of New York City’s department of small-business services. He also has been active in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender advocacy.

Also Tuesday, the council’s Community Development and Regulatory Services Committee heard from Taylor and 10 people who testified in his favor.

Taylor has headed the University of Minnesota’s Office for Business and Community Economic Development and the Business and Technology Center for the past dozen years, previously serving as a manager of corporate small-business development at Xcel Energy. He also directed the city’s Office of Women and Minority Business Enterprise for four years.

Taylor now awaits a vote by the full council.


eric.roper@startribune.com 612-673-1732

maya.rao@startribune.com 612-673-4210