Bruce Corrie, an economist who has led St. Paul’s planning and economic development department for more than a year, is resigning his role with the city.
Corrie will return to his previous employer, Concordia University, and serve as an associate vice president and economics professor.
“I took a leave of absence to work at the city and now I am at a critical decision point,” Corrie said in a statement. “Concordia University has begun the new academic year and is appointing a new president. Also, family, both locally and overseas, is my top priority right now.”
Corrie said he had planned a gradual transition out of the director role, but had to leave immediately and travel to India to be with his ill mother.
In an e-mail to department directors, Deputy Mayor Jaime Tincher said she and Mayor Melvin Carter will have more information in coming weeks about filling the director role. Deputy Director Kristin Guild will serve as interim director.
Corrie was among six new department leaders whom Carter appointed shortly after winning the mayoral race in November 2017. Corrie’s annual salary was $157,000.
“Dr. Corrie’s focus on inclusive development has opened an exciting path for equitable economic growth in St. Paul,” Carter said in a statement Tuesday. “I deeply appreciate his leadership and look forward to continuing this work together as he returns to academia.”
City Council President Amy Brendmoen said Corrie prioritized economic development in “cultural destination areas” — places defined by concentrations of people from various racial and ethnic backgrounds.
Corrie will return to Concordia in August. He joined the faculty there in 1987, and most recently was associate vice president of university relations and international programs.
Corrie’s departure comes weeks before Carter’s 2020 budget address, which will launch months of planning and negotiations with council members and department leaders.
The planning and economic development department’s financial picture has changed in recent years as traditional funding sources such as the community development block grant have dropped off, Brendmoen said. City leaders have discussed changing the department’s budget structure so it relies more heavily on the general fund, she said.