Mayor Rybak Nominates Paul Aasen as City Coordinator

Current MPCA commissioner to bring 25 years of experience in public, private and nonprofit sectors

Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak announced today that he will nominate Paul Aasen, the current commissioner of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, to be the next city coordinator of the City of Minneapolis. Mayor Rybak will make the nomination at the meeting of the City’s Executive Committee on Wednesday, May 2.

Mayor R.T. Rybak said, “Paul Aasen follows in the tradition of Steven Bosacker in bringing top-notch professionalism in public service to the critically important role of city coordinator. He brings a wide range of experience across many fields to a job that requires it. I’m also especially pleased that he brings a deep environmental background to a city with deep green values and proven results in enhancing our sustainability.”

Aasen will bring 25 years of experience in the public, private and nonprofit sectors to the job. At the State of Minnesota, he has served the public under three governors of three political parties.


  • As commissioner of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency for Governor Mark Dayton from 2011 to the present, he leads an organization of 925 employees and a $135 million biennial budget.
  • As director of government relations and policy under Governor Jesse Ventura from 2000–03, he represented the Governor on all policy matters with the Legislature. In that role, he reported to former Minneapolis City Coordinator Steven Bosacker, who then served as Governor Ventura’s chief of staff.
  • As assistant commissioner of the Department of Public Safety under Governor Ventura from 1999–2000, he managed finance, human resources and information technology, and played a key role in criminal-justice information (CriMNet) legislation.
  • As director of the Division of Emergency Management under Governor Arne Carlson from 1998–99, he led the State’s effective response to the catastrophic spring storms of 1998.
  • As executive director of the Minnesota Emergency Response Commission under Governor Carlson from 1992–98, he managed the staff and budget of a 22-member commission under the Department of Public Safety that helps communities deal safely with hazardous chemicals.

Paul Aasen has also worked in the nonprofit and private sectors. In the nonprofit sector, he served as executive vice president of Global Volunteers from 2004–07 and as advocacy director of the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy from 2007–11. In the private sector, he was principal of Independent Strategic Consulting from 2003–04.

He began his career in 1986 as an environmental scientist at the Metropolitan Waste Control Commission. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Minnesota, the latter from the School of Public Health.

“Commissioner Aasen has done a superb job leading a state agency with critically important responsibilities,” said Governor Mark Dayton. “Our loss will be Minneapolis’ great gain.”

City Council President Barbara Johnson said, “Paul Aasen is a proven performer. He comes extremely highly recommended and will additionally help us strengthen our ties with many levels of State government. He will be a great fit for the City of Minneapolis.”

Council Vice President Robert Lilligren, chair of the Committee of the Whole to which the City Coordinator reports, said, “The work of the city coordinator often takes place quietly behind the scenes. In Minneapolis’ system of government, it is the Coordinator’s challenge to see that all the work of the city’s departments act in harmony to maximize our taxpayers’ dollars. I believe Paul Aasen’s wide range of experience in so many different areas will have a positive impact on our residents’ quality of life.”

Commissioner Aasen said, “I’m very much looking forward to working with Mayor and City Council to build on Minneapolis’ strong foundation and make it a world-class city where everyone has opportunity and everyone enjoys a high quality of life.

“This starts with two important pieces: efficiency and partnerships,” he continued. “We need to make sure that City government operates at its absolute best, so that residents get the value they deserve. And recognizing that the City never operates alone, we must continue to forge and strengthen partnerships, alliances and friendships with all Minneapolis’ stakeholders.”

If confirmed by the City Council, Paul Aasen is expected to start as city coordinator later this month.

The Minneapolis city coordinator is a key advisor to the Mayor and City Council on strategic planning, budget development and policy decisions. The city coordinator drives the City’s results-management agenda, the cornerstone of which is Results Minneapolis, where ever City department sets measurable performance goals and then tracks and reports progress towards achieving those goals.

In addition, the coordinator is the chief administrator for Minneapolis City government’s enterprise operations and priorities, including the City’s finance operations, intergovernmental relations work, neighborhood and community relations, sustainability initiatives, communications and public affairs, human resources, and 311 and 911 operations.


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