June 23, 2023
Deputy Commissioner Margaret Kelly to retire
Kelly caps public service career spanning four decades and multiple roles, agencies
Minnesota Department of Health Deputy Commissioner Margaret Kelly will retire from state service on July 11, 2023, concluding a distinguished career in public service spanning four decades and multiple agencies in state government as well as service with the City of St. Paul.
A long-time public servant with a rare depth of knowledge in budgets and operations, Kelly played a pivotal behind-the-scenes role in helping keep MDH going during the COVID-19 pandemic. For the duration of the response, she juggled an array of management responsibilities ranging from operations to finance to external partnerships. Prior to that role, she served multiple stints at the agency as budget director, chief financial officer and assistant commissioner.
In addition to her significant contributions at MDH over the years, Kelly served as the state’s chief budget officer at Minnesota Management and Budget from 2011 to 2018, where she helped assemble state budgets for then-Governor Mark Dayton and navigated a variety of fiscal challenges. Among her chief accomplishments in that role was helping to lift the state’s finances from deficit to surplus and restoring the state’s AAA bond ratings.
Within Minnesota government circles, Kelly has long been respected for her calm demeanor, depth of knowledge and focus on sound practices and good government. Minnesota Commissioner of Health Dr. Brooke Cunningham praised Kelly for her dedication to the department and its mission.
“I am so thankful for Margaret’s leadership and for her willingness to stay on as I transitioned into my leadership role,” Commissioner Cunningham said. “She was one of the unsung heroes of the COVID-19 response, and I have learned a lot from her in our relatively short time working together. Throughout her career she has demonstrated her dedication to public health and her commitment to the department. I will always be grateful for her astute counsel and for her hard work over the years to overcome challenges and advance the health of Minnesotans.”
“I’ve been honored to work at the Minnesota Department of Health under multiple governors and commissioners,” Kelly said. “This department has so much to offer Minnesotans, and I have been honored to work with so many dedicated and talented public health colleagues.”