Velma Korbel is City’s new Civil Rights director

The Minneapolis City Council unanimously approved Mayor R.T. Rybak’s nomination of Velma Korbel as director of the City of Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights on Friday, April 30. Korbel joins the City from the State of Minnesota Department of Human Rights, where she has served as commissioner since 2003.

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.

Korbel’s accomplishments include the resolution of 98.5 percent of all charges presented to Minnesota Department of Human Rights within the legally mandated one-year window; institution of a new workflow-based case-management system to replace an older antiquated system; and putting in place a Quality Assurance Team within the Department’s complaint/case-processing function, which led to a 50 percent reduction in the number of cases returned to investigators.

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. During this time 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, and a B.B.A. from National University in San Diego. She is a veteran of the United States Navy, where she served for six years.

Published Apr. 30, 2010