Minnesota Human Services Commissioner Emily Piper has appointed Santo Cruz to be Deputy Commissioner for External Relations at DHS, effective immediately.
In this role, Cruz will oversee the Office of Inspector General (OIG) as well as a number of external relations divisions he currently supervises as an assistant commissioner for DHS. The OIG manages financial fraud and abuse investigations; licenses programs such as family child care, adult foster care and mental health centers; and conducts background studies on people who apply to work in these settings.
“Santo has a unique blend of experience that makes him particularly suited for this role, including in both state and county government,” Piper said.
Immediately prior to joining DHS in 2016, Cruz held a number of positions at the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. At the Minnesota Department of Commerce, he provided legal advice and counsel to all areas of the agency, including divisions regulating financial institutions, energy and insurance. In addition to his experience in state service, he served as both a prosecutor and press secretary for Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman.
Cruz holds a Juris Doctor degree from the University of St. Thomas School of Law. He lives in St. Paul with his wife and four daughters.