Milwaukee DPW interim commissioner leaving role to take job with Biden administration

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Milwaukee's Department of Public Works Interim Commissioner Karen Dettmer is leaving to take a job with the Biden administration. 

In her new role in Washington, Dettmer will be overseeing the implementation strategy for the $50 billion water infrastructure investment included in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

“Very few opportunities could pull me away from public service in the City of Milwaukee," Dettmer said in a news release. "I am grateful for the trust former Mayor Barrett and Mayor Johnson have put in me to oversee the Milwaukee Water Works and now the Department of Public Works. I am excited to bring my experience managing the drinking water utility and public works in Milwaukee to inform and ensure equitable distribution of the historic water infrastructure investment.”

“Karen has distinguished herself in her work at the Department of City Development, at the Milwaukee Water Works, and at the Department of Public Works. This city is stronger because of her contributions,” Mayor Johnson said. “I join her colleagues in wishing Karen continued success in her new endeavors.”

Dettmer was just named interim DPW commissioner in December, when Jeff Polenske left for a job in the private sector. 

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