“Velma Korbel is a strong manager with a long record of successfully and efficiently enforcing civil-rights laws and mandates. She will bring new energy and focus to the Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights. She is immensely qualified to lead the department and I am very pleased to nominate her for the job,” said Rybak.
Korbel has worked in the field of human rights for over 20 years. Since 2003, she has served as commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Human Rights, where she has led the department through several improvements in case management, quality control, alternative-dispute resolution and outreach. Highlights of Korbel’s accomplishments include:
Of 2,209 new charges filed with the Department from January 1, 2007 through June 30, 2009, 98.5% — or all but 35 — were resolved within the legally mandated one-year window. Of those 35 remaining charges, all were resolved within 54 weeks of original filing.
In 2008, Korbel also instituted a new workflow-based case-management system to replace the 1994 case-tracking system that was no longer supportable. The new system will be fully implemented in 2010.
Korbel instituted a Quality Assurance Team within the Department’s complaint/case-processing function, which led to a 50% reduction in the number of cases returned to investigators.
Korbel also instituted cost savings and efficiencies in response to budgetary pressures.
Prior to heading the Minnesota Department of Human Rights, Korbel worked for nine years for the Metropolitan Council, including as director of equal opportunity for the last four. As director of equal opportunity, she established the compliance-monitoring regime for Hiawatha light rail design and construction that led to that project’s exceeding its goals for contracting with minority- and women-owned business enterprises, as well as for hiring of women and people of color.
Korbel also served as acting director of equal opportunity and diversity management for the Metropolitan Waste Control Commission. Prior to entering public service, she worked in the human-rights and affirmative-action field in the private sector.
Korbel holds an M.B.A. from American Intercontinental University in Atlanta, GA, and a B.B.A. from National University in San Diego, CA. She is a veteran of the United States Navy, where she served for six years.
“I've enjoyed my time at Minnesota Department of Human Rights and it has been a privilege to work with a capable, committed team to deliver programs and services to the residents of Minnesota,” Korbel said. “I look forward to continuing my civil rights career in Minneapolis. It will be an honor to work with stakeholders to build a Civil Rights Department that is reliable, resourceful and respected.”
Korbel succeeds current Civil Rights Director Michael Jordan, who has served in that post since 2007.
“The Department of Civil Rights has made great strides under Michael Jordan’s leadership. I appreciate his dedication and thank him for his service to the people of Minneapolis,” said Mayor Rybak.