December 23, 2021

Peter Leggett

Mayor Carter Celebrates Retiring City Leaders

Safety & Inspections Director Ricardo Cervantes and Parks & Recreation Director Mike Hahm to Retire Early Next Year, Each After More than Three Decades of Public Service

SAINT PAUL, MN – Today, Saint Paul Mayor Melvin Carter celebrated two City of Saint Paul leaders following news of their plans to retire. Department of Safety & Inspections Director Ricardo Cervantes and Parks & Recreation Department Director Mike Hahm who each have more than three decades of public service, will transition out of their respective leadership roles at the end of February 2022.  

“Director Cervantes and Director Hahm will leave a lasting legacy of impact from their decades of service,” said Mayor Melvin Carter. “We join our community in celebrating their work, and thanking them for their unwavering commitment to our city.”

“Throughout my 34 years of public service, including 11 years as director of DSI, my goal has been to protect the health and safety of the people we serve while treating everyone with integrity and fairness,” said outgoing Safety & Inspections Director Ricardo Cervantes. “I am grateful for the unwavering trust and dedication from the women and men in DSI, my colleagues across city departments, the City Council, and for the strong, focused leadership of our Mayor and Deputy Mayor as we’ve worked together to serve our city.” 

“It has been my honor and privilege to lead Saint Paul Parks and Recreation these past 13 years,” said outgoing Parks Director Mike Hahm. “I believe I speak on behalf of our entire community in saying that we have the best parks and recreation system in the nation and a staff that is second to none. I am grateful for the political and public support of our work that has made this possible.”   

In the coming weeks, the Mayor will invite members of our community to join a community hiring panel which will commence their work early next year. Public job postings will accompany that information.  

Director Ricardo Cervantes is a regulatory public service executive with more than 34 years of combined experience with the City of Saint Paul, the City of Minneapolis, and the Federal Aviation Administration. He was first appointed in November of 2010 and reappointed in 2018 as the Director of Saint Paul’s Department of Safety and Inspections (DSI), a proactive, multi-faceted safety and inspections organization that advances and maintains a thriving Saint Paul for all.  

Ricardo has provided strong and effective leadership for the Department with its eight divisions and more than 152 employees. His management is marked with business process improvements, innovation, and fiscal responsibility recognized by Harvard University, the Ash Center for Democratic Governance, International Code Council, Bloomberg Philanthropies (What Works Cities) and the Fresh Water Society. 

He is regularly tapped to work on complex issues facing the city, including racial equity and Open for Business initiatives. Over the last two years he has been an integral leader for the Mayor’s Office on the City’s approach to supporting residents experiencing unsheltered homelessness. This work has involved crafting a collaborative, coordinated response to address homeless encampments, meeting regularly with County and state representatives as well as community partners such as Radius Health, People’s Inc., Catholic Charities and Higher Ground. This innovative approach has shifted from an enforcement-based response to a service model, based on data collection and assessing the health, safety and risk factors to our community. He is a leader in both the Unsheltered Homeless Coordinated Response Team, and the City’s internal Unsheltered Homeless work group. 

He also serves as a member of Mayor Carter’s Equity Executive Steering Team, which includes outreach, collaboration, and education of community partners. Prior to that from 2015 through 2017, Ricardo served on former Mayor Coleman’s Racial Equity Strategy Team contributing to the development of the City’s Racial Equity workplan. Outcomes in his own department include creating a recruitment pipeline and an increase in percentage of employees of color from 10.9% in 2014 to 21.7% in 2021. 

Ricardo is a native of Saint Paul and grew up on the City’s East Side.  He is a graduate of Harding High School and Macalester College in Saint Paul with a degree in Sociology and is a John J. McCloy Fellow (American Council on Germany). 

He enjoys volunteering as the City’s Coordinator for Habitat for Humanity, serving meals at Dorothy Day and Hope for the Journey Home Homeless shelters, and participating in the Refugee Resettlement Initiative through his church. Cervantes is also an avid soccer fan having played for Macalester College and a Minnesota United FC season ticket holder.  

Cervantes will retire at the end of February 2022.  

Mike Hahm is a lifelong Saint Paul resident and a dedicated career employee of the Saint Paul Parks and Recreation Department. Mike’s career began more than 35 years ago as a recreation center employee while he was finishing his business degree at the University of Saint Thomas. 

For the past 24 years, Mike has served on the senior Parks and Recreation management team holding a variety of positions including recreation services manager, special services manager and director of Como Park Zoo & Conservatory. In 2008, Mike was appointed as Director of Saint Paul Parks and Recreation by former Mayor Chris Coleman. After a community-led hiring process, Mike was reappointed as Director by Mayor Melvin Carter in December 2017. 

Mike’s notable career highlights include championing efforts to expand free youth programming in recreation centers, outdoor programming for Saint Paul’s BIPOC community and mobile recreation offerings, and successfully strengthening strategic public-private partnerships in an effort to counter shrinking budgets, including the Saint Paul Parks Conservancy, Great River Passage Conservancy, the Trust For Public Land, and Como Friends.  

He has also added culturally relevant amenities to the park system, including Kato and Tuj Lub, implemented a successful management response to the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) environmental crisis, modernized community amenities at Como Pool and Highland Park Aquatic Center, and engaged in re-energizing and leading one of Saint Paul’s premium family destinations, Como Park Zoo & Conservatory, to record-breaking attendance. 

Mike has been instrumental in raising Saint Paul’s profile through his leadership work on several large citywide events and projects, including Frogtown Community Center, Palace Community Center, Arlington Hills Community Center, CHS Field, Midway Peace Park, Frogtown Park & Farm, and the Gorilla Forest and Como Harbor seal and sea lion exhibits at Como Park Zoo & Conservatory. 

Hahm will retire at the end of February 2022.  



Last Edited: December 23, 2021