Deputy Commissioner, Communications and Relations

This position is with the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS). The department helps provide essential services to Minnesota’s most vulnerable residents. While the vast majority of human services in Minnesota are provided by its partners (including counties, tribes, and nonprofits) DHS, at the direction of the governor and legislature, sets policies and directs the payments for many of the services delivered. As the largest state agency, DHS administers about one-third of the state budget with the commitment to better the lives of Minnesotans. Its largest financial responsibility is to provide health care coverage for low income Minnesotans. DHS is also responsible for securing economic assistance for struggling families, providing food support, overseeing child protection and welfare services, and providing services for people with mental illness, chemical dependency or physical or developmental disabilities.

DHS places strong value in having a workforce that represents the state’s rich diversity, by employing a highly talented and dedicated workforce committed to providing services that produce positive outcomes for clients in a cost-effective manner.  DHS employees have an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of Minnesotans every day.


The Deputy Commissioner of Communications and Relations reports to the Commissioner of the Department of Human Services (DHS); and oversees Communications, Legislative Affairs, and External Affairs, including six directors; and has shared responsibility in the budget oversight of department programs and expenditures. The Deputy Commissioner must be a well-rounded individual with strong leadership skills to direct and manage the operations of DHS’s Communications, Legislative Affairs, and External Relations divisions so that DHS is considered a trustworthy public partner with tribes, counties, and providers, and so that media coverage of DHS is fair and accurate.


As the Deputy Commissioner for Communications and Relations major responsibilities include:

  • Developing and enhancing external relations with tribes, counties and providers
  • Working closely with communities in Minnesota for the co-creation of initiatives and programs
  • Providing leadership for the Communications and Relation’s strategic planning
  • Assisting with DHS’s legislative strategic planning
  • Setting and implementing division and agency-wide objectives
  • Promoting, implementing, and evaluating organizational change
  • Supporting DHS managers, directors, and department staff to assure continuous quality improvement that results in cost effective and equitable state policies and programs
  • Directing the external operations of the Department of Human Services in cooperation with and subject to the general guidance and review of the Commissioner of Human Services
  • Participating as a member of the Commissioner’s Executive Team to develop policies and strategic initiatives so that action plans to implement quality DHS programs are developed and resource allocations are made in a manner that fulfills the mission of the Department
  • Obtaining and managing necessary funding for human service management programs


Must be a collaborative, decisive, and progressive leader that believes in serving others with passion and integrity. In addition the successful candidate must:

  • Have a broad understanding of Human Services
  • Have success in providing innovative and creative solutions to complex organization, community and business problems
  • Have an ability to reach out to communities to invite them into collaboration and co-creation with the Department
  • Possess the ability to predict how certain factors or events (such as economic trends, shifts in the role of government, demographic changes and other “environmental” changes) will affect DHS’s resource utilization
  • Have expert skill in negotiation; conflict resolution; strategic, short range and project planning; time management; cost-benefit assessment; technical and program evaluation; written and oral communications; and budgeting
  • Have leadership, managerial and delegation skills in order to effect desired changes within the organization
  • Have excellent political as well as communications and relations savvy


  • Bachelor’s Degree or higher in Public Policy, Public Administration, Business Administration or another related field
  • Adept at guiding and encouraging others to think with purpose and vision
  • Excellent communication skills and commitment to customer service, innovation and the initiative to make large public systems function effectively

Salary Range: $115,779 – $165,703 annually

Location: St. Paul, MN

Industry: Government

Contact Information

If you have any questions about this job opportunity, please contact Bunny Robinson.

Robinson-Robinson & Asssociates
O: 952.942.8938 | C: 612.490.6909