Ballpark Authority hires executive director, sets permanent meeting schedule

The Minnesota Ballpark Authority's Aug. 4 meeting was brief, but members completed a big task by appointing Dan Kenney as the group's executive director.

Kenney is chief of staff for Hennepin County Commissioner Mike Opat (District 1) and current member of the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission. He begins his work as executive director Monday, Aug. 21, Ballpark Authority Chair Steve Cramer said. Kenney will step down from his position on the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission, Cramer said.

The Ballpark Authority is the five-member organization that will own and oversee the development of the new $522 million Minnesota Twins stadium. The executive director will be responsible for the day-to-day administration of Authority activities, as well as ensuring strong working relationships with key stakeholders, preparing a start-up budget for the Authority and overseeing stadium negotiations between Hennepin County and the Twins, according to the Authority's description of the position.

Kenney was one of 30 applicants for the position and one of four finalists, according to the Hennepin County website. The other finalists included Steve Maki, director of facilities and engineering for the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission; Robert Randle, principal of BOSS International, Inc.; and David Metzen of Metzen Leadership.

Cramer and Ballpark Authority Vice Chair Mike Vekich interviewed all of the finalists before selecting Kenney as the executive director. There had been discussion among Authority members that because of the tight hiring deadline in the stadium legislation - an executive director had to be chosen by Aug. 7 - the position could be filled on an interim basis until a more thorough application process was completed. But Cramer said after reviewing the applications, Kenney was hired on a permanent basis.

&#8220We had a very good interview process that was highly active,” Vekich said. &#8220I believe Dan will do a good job moving forward.”

Kenney's starting salary as executive director of the Ballpark Authority will be $110,000.

The Ballpark Authority also set a permanent meeting schedule. Beginning Friday, Aug. 18 - the group's next scheduled meeting date - the Authority will meet on the third Friday of each month beginning at 1 p.m. at the Metrodome offices of the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission, 900 S. 5th St.

Cramer said that by the Aug. 18 meeting, he expects the Authority will have a request from the Twins for the design and construction of the new stadium. Reviewing this request will be one of the Authority's first pivotal issues because then the Twins will have the authority to hire an architect and a general contractor.