St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman announced on Thursday the arrival of a new deputy mayor and the departure of the city’s longtime planning and economic development director.
Kristin Beckmann, vice president of programs and services for Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity, will become deputy mayor on May 19. She follows Paul Williams, who left this month to become executive director at Project for Pride in Living.
Beckmann, 43, has served as executive director of the Service Employees International Union state council, worked in the Minnesota Department of Health and the state auditor’s office, and helped direct Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges’ recent transition from the City Council to the mayor’s office. Beckmann will be paid an annual salary of $145,000.
In statements, Coleman and Beckmann said a major focus of her work will be reducing housing and educational disparities in St. Paul between white and minority residents.
“I am thrilled to appoint a deputy mayor who will wake up every morning thinking about closing the achievement gap, as well as filling the potholes,” Coleman said.
The mayor also announced that Cecile Bedor, the city’s head of planning and economic development, will be leaving May 8 to become executive vice president of Greater MSP, a private and public nonprofit partnership that promotes regional growth.
Bedor, the city’s longest-serving planning and economic development director, directed several high-profile projects in her eight years with St. Paul. She supervised the city’s development of the Lofts at Farmers Market and Penfield housing projects, oversaw zoning changes for the new light-rail corridor along University Avenue and shepherded the early stages of redevelopment at the Ford site in Highland Park.
“Cecile has been a true asset for the city of St. Paul, cultivating successes in historically difficult economic times, and it is hard to see her go,” Coleman said. He will name a replacement sometime in the coming months.