Recruitment #2203-5868-001


As a member of the Mayor’s Cabinet, the Commissioner of Public Works is appointed by and serves at the pleasure of the Mayor; the appointment of the Commissioner of Public Works requires confirmation by the Common Council.


Located on the western shore of Lake Michigan, Milwaukee is an urban hub bursting with energy. Milwaukee provides a casual sophistication – big city appeal without the big-city hassles. We are accessible and affordable, and our residents are welcoming. Milwaukee brings together its unsurpassed old-world charm with a breathtaking art museum, top-flight arts and cultural attractions, professional sports, lakefront festivals, recreational opportunities and great restaurants.

The City of Milwaukee is proud to employ a diverse workforce that is committed to providing exemplary service to the City’s residents. If you have a passion for being a part of an inclusive team of public servants, please consider the following opportunity.


The Department of Public Works

The Department of Public Works (DPW), comprised of the Administrative Services, Infrastructure and Operations Divisions, and the Milwaukee Water Works, has a high standard for quality customer service and innovative and efficient infrastructural maintenance. DPW employees deliver efficient operation of public works services 24 hours a day. Our DPW employees contribute to the quality of life and economic development of Milwaukee in many ways: providing clean, safe water; fostering the growth and beauty of the urban forest and boulevards; completing sewer, water and paving projects on or ahead of schedule; controlling snow and ice to keep streets safe; and providing reliable and efficient solid waste and recycling collection. DPW is responsible for the design, maintenance and operation of streets, sidewalks, alleys, bridges, sewers, water mains, underground conduit, telecommunications services, traffic signals and street lighting for the City of Milwaukee, encompassing 96 square miles, 200+ City buildings, over 4,500 vehicles, 120+ miles of boulevards, and 200,000 street trees.

The Position

The City of Milwaukee is seeking an energetic, innovative public works leader to oversee the Department of Public Works (DPW). The ideal candidate will possess the passion, vision and public works leadership experience to work tirelessly to build upon the DPW’s proud history and to strategically lead the DPW forward.

Current Initiatives

  • The Hop, presented by Potawatomi Hotel & Casino, is a modern fixed-transit network that attracts and retains investment, business, and talent – creating jobs, improving quality of life and increasing vitality.
  • Funded by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), the City will modernize its street lighting system by replacing 29 electrical circuits during the next four years, impacting 79,000 streetlights.
  • Milwaukee has nearly 200 miles of bike facilities along its streets and on its trails. The City is expanding multimodal opportunities by partnering with not-for-profit Bublr bike share, launching two dockless scooter pilots, and collaborating with the Milwaukee County Transit System.
  • Federal infrastructure funds will accelerate the progress of the Milwaukee Water Work in replacing lead service lines.
  • The City utilizes the public right-of-way to enhance community activities, including a popular outdoor dining program and permitting special events citywide, including the Bucks Victory Parade.
  • Public improvements for several major projects are underway throughout the city, including street construction, sidewalks and installation of fiber and copper infrastructure.
  • The Compete Milwaukee program, ongoing since 2014, connects unemployed Milwaukee residents with opportunities to gain meaningful work experience. The program provides paid transitional jobs and career pathways trainings with a goal of equipping residents with the skills needed to compete for family supporting employment.

For more information about DPW, please visit budget information, including mission, strategic issues, initiatives, objectives, and outcomes for 2022 review pp. 154-167 by clicking here.

Essential Functions

  • Strategic Leadership: Lead the DPW in strategic planning and monitor progress and informatics toward strategic goals; ensure that DPW leadership participates in and facilitates ongoing community assessment and planning in partnership with other stakeholders. Establish and enforce accountability mechanisms for all divisions in the DPW. Direct the pursuit of funding from a variety of sources to address priorities identified through strategic planning.
  • Management of Leadership Team: Coach, support and assess managers in achieving organizational and professional improvement goals; identify and implement measures of success and accountability. Create and promote leadership development and succession planning opportunities. Continuously monitor the organizational climate to ensure a high level of staff morale and a culture of inclusion.
  • Asset Management, Sustainability and Accountability: Ensure that public works projects are administered in a manner consistent with local, state and federal laws and regulations. Ensure that the infrastructure is well maintained and contributes positively to the health, welfare and prosperity of residents, businesses and visitors. Serve as an advocate for sustainability.
  • Community Engagement and Collaboration: Communicate regularly with staff, policymakers and the public, through in-person meetings, community forums and other venues. Ensure that the DPW has mechanisms and strategies for obtaining feedback and input from persons with diverse backgrounds and ensure the consideration of the role of cultural, social and behavioral factors in the accessibly, availability, acceptability and delivery of services.
  • Administration: Review and approve the Department’s annual budget, including operating, capital and enterprise funds (revenue generating enterprises). Serve as the contracting officer for the City on all contracts for public works. Establish and administer all special assessments. Serve as the primary spokesperson for the DPW or identify other subject matter experts within the DPW based upon the topic.
  • Public Works Advocacy: Draft and review local regulations that address emerging public works needs and challenges. Educate and engage local, state and federal policymakers about funding and policy changes needed to address current and emerging public works issues and maintain and promote active involvement in peer professional organizations. Mobilize support amongst the public and policymakers for policy changes that will positively impact Milwaukee’s infrastructure. Serve as a chairperson or member of various special committees and task forces as prescribed by the Mayor or Common Council.

We welcome qualified individuals with disabilities who are interested in employment and will make reasonable accommodations during the hiring process in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, as amended by the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA) of 2008.

Conditions of Employment

Please be advised that new employees are required to have received either both doses of the Moderna or Pfizer or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine prior to their employment start date or have an approved religious or medical accommodation prior to their employment start date. You can find further information relative to the City’s Covid-19 Vaccination Policy here. 

Minimum Requirements

  1. Bachelor’s Degree in Public or Business Administration, Engineering, Urban Planning or a related field from an accredited college or university.
  2. Five years of progressively responsible senior management experience overseeing a large multi-functional public works, engineering or construction organization.
  3. Valid driver’s license at the time of appointment and throughout employment.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Equivalent combinations of education and experience may also be considered.


  • Master’s degree in Public or Business Administration, Engineering, Urban Planning or a related field from an accredited college or university.
  • License as a Professional Engineer (P.E.), with eligibility for registration in Wisconsin.
NOTICE: Please do not include academic transcripts with your employment application materials. Transcripts may be verified as part of the background screening process prior to extending a job offer.

Knowledge, Skills, Abilities & Other Characteristics


  • Extensive knowledge of public works trends and best practices.
  • Ability to evaluate departmental technological needs and to select appropriate technological tools, applications and advances in work methods to meet those needs.
  • Ability to read and understand complex documents such as laws, policies and technical publications.
  • Expert knowledge of the full range of modern principles and best practices specific to the construction industry, street engineering, transportation systems and environmental impact.
  • Ability to apply the provisions of federal, state and local laws and ordinances in solving the most complex problems affecting departmental operations.
  • Ability to direct the development and implementation of a departmental budget and ensure that funds are appropriately managed.
  • Ability to make decisions based upon budgetary limitations, interagency concerns, legal issues and the needs of the community.
  • Ability to identify the full range of potential departmental risks and to minimize liabilities.
  • Knowledge of emergency management preparation and response.
  • Ability to identify the most complex risks and liability implications involved in policy development, long-term planning and strategy.


  • Knowledge of and ability to apply the best practices in executive leadership.
  • Organizational and planning skills to be able to effectively oversee workflow processes and manage competing priorities and challenges under pressure.
  • Ability to plan, coordinate, lead and monitor complex projects, prepare work plans, develop protocols and standards and define and appropriately measure results.
  • Ability to expertly plan and manage multiple projects that have the highest level of Citywide and/or community impact and may have changing priorities.
  • Ability to direct others in conducting customer service needs analyses and to establish department-wide customer service standards that promote excellence.
  • Ability to demonstrate a commitment to increase cultural diversity and inclusion within the department, actively support the City's diversity and inclusion initiatives, and to address the needs of diverse and underserved communities.
  • Ability to foster an environment of inclusion and respect for all.
  • Ability to set expectations, manage employee development and provide training, coaching and mentoring.
  • Ability to encourage staff flexibility, creativity and innovation in service delivery.
  • Ability to provide for and encourage a positive work environment.
  • Ability to recruit and retain talented people, support and build team spirit and morale, reward teamwork, celebrate successes, listen to ideas and provide opportunities for others to contribute.
  • Ability to achieve results and add value to the organization by implementing appropriate strategies and assuming responsibility for results.

Communication and Interpersonal

  • Excellent verbal communication skills and political acumen to work collaboratively with colleagues and elected officials, contractors, community groups and the public.
  • Ability to effectively represent the department before public bodies and the media.
  • Superior written communication skills to create well-crafted policies, narratives, reports, articles, presentations and correspondence.
  • Ability to work across departmental lines and to form partnerships that promote efficiency in service delivery and eliminate barriers to achieving results.
  • Ability to facilitate the group problem-solving process, recognize positive results, manage conflict and negotiate satisfactory outcomes.

Judgment and Responsibility

  • Decision-making skills and sound judgment.
  • Ability to analyze and solve complex problems.
  • Ability to represent the City of Milwaukee professionally and ethically.
  • Ability to prioritize issues, identifying which issues require immediate attention, and take effective action.
  • Ability to maintain confidentiality.
  • Adaptability, dependability and accountability.
  • Vision, imagination, initiative and passion.

Current Salary

The current salary range (1PX) is $120,339-$147,335 annually, and the resident incentive salary range for City of Milwaukee residents is $123,950 -$147,335 annually. Appointment above the minimum is possible based upon level of experience and other qualifications and is subject to approval.


The City of Milwaukee provides a comprehensive benefit program that includes the following:

  • Defined Benefit Pension Plan
  • 457 Deferred Compensation Plan
  • Health and Dental Insurance
  • Paid Parental Leave
  • Comprehensive Wellness Program
  • Onsite Clinic Services
  • Onsite Employee Assistance Program
  • Alternative Work Schedules
  • Long Term Disability Insurance
  • Group Life Insurance
  • Tuition Benefits
  • Paid Vacation
  • 11 Paid Holidays
  • Paid Sick Leave and other paid leaves
  • Flexible Spending Arrangement
  • Commuter Value Pass

Full details of the benefits offered by the City of Milwaukee can be found here:

Selection Process

Screening for this position will be based on an evaluation of each applicant’s education, experience and professional accomplishments, which should be detailed in a cover letter and resume.

  • Please send a cover letter and resume via email to by 4:59 p.m. on Friday, June 24, 2022.
  • Please indicate “Commissioner of Public Works” in the subject line.
  • Inquiries regarding the selection process may be directed to Kristin Urban by calling 414.286.8643 or via email at
The City of Milwaukee reserves the right to invite only the most qualified applicants to participate in the selection process.

INITIAL FILING DATE: The selection process will be conducted as soon as practical after Friday, June 24, 2022. Receipt of application materials may be discontinued at any time after this date without prior notice. However, recruitment may continue until the needs of the City have been met. The applicant is responsible for attending all phases of the job selection process at the time and place designated by the City of Milwaukee.


The City of Milwaukee values and encourages diversity and is an equal opportunity employer.