Minneapolis City Coordinator Mark Ruff, who has advised the mayor and other officials on issues ranging from the coronavirus response to the 911 system and has managed 10 departments, said Friday that he is resigning effective Aug. 1.
Ruff, who took the city's top nonelected position a month after the pandemic hit and a month before George Floyd was killed by a Minneapolis police officer, said family medical reasons and his mental health were factors that influenced his decision.
"I've known nothing but crisis management the whole time I've been city coordinator," Ruff said in an interview. "If it's a choice between dealing with personal crises and professional crises, it's an easy decision for me."
Ruff managed departments including human resources, emergency management and finance. He said he contemplated taking a leave but felt it was not fair to put more responsibility on his colleagues "who are already overburdened within the city right now." He said he recommended to Mayor Jacob Frey in June that he nominate a replacement.
"We are in a much better trajectory now than certainly where we were a year ago," Ruff said.
Frey described Ruff as a calm and steady leader who "provided stability amid the most turbulent moments by keeping those around him grounded in our bedrock values."
The mayor announced Friday that he intends to nominate Heather Johnston to serve as interim city coordinator. On Monday, Johnston's nomination will come before an executive committee chaired by Frey that includes four council members.
Johnston brings to the job more than 15 years of leadership and management experience and nearly two decades of working for cities. She previously was the city's director of management and budget, and is a board member of the Twin Cities Urban League and National Civic League.
The city will start a competitive search for a permanent replacement in the coming weeks.
Faiza Mahamud • 612-673-4203