NewsLocal News


Karen Dettmer named interim head of Milwaukee's Department of Public Works

Karen Dettmer
Posted at 10:28 AM, Dec 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-20 11:28:19-05

MILWAUKEE — The head of Milwaukee Water Works is taking the reigns over at the Department of Public Works, Mayor Tom Barrett's office announced Monday.

Karen Dettmer was named Interim Commissioner of DPW, Barrett's office said, a decision that was made in consultation with incoming acting mayor Cavalier Johnson.

Karen Dettmer
Karen Dettmer

Dettmer took the reigns on Dec. 17 following the retirement of former DPW commissioner Jeff Polenske, who had a 31-year career with the city.

Dettmer has almost 15 years of experience with the city of Milwaukee, including roles at DPW, the Department of City Development and Milwaukee Water Works. Before public service, she worked in the private sector as an engineering consultant, the city said.

Dettmer has served as the Superintendent of Milwaukee Water Work since February of 2019. In that role Dettmer oversaw the state’s largest public utility and more than 350 employees, according to the city in a statement Monday.

Report a typo or error // Submit a news tip