The Hennepin County Board of Commissioners originally adopted the Open Appointments Policy under Resolutions 77-2-126 and 77-2-126R, which were amended by Resolutions 80-6-571, 83-5-249 and 93-2-69B-R1. The Open Appointments Policy, which follows, was adopted as board policy on February 28, 1994, per Resolutions 94-2-115A and 94-2-115B. (The first part of the policy pertains to certain staff positions; the rest of the policy pertains to advisory boards and committees.)
The Board of Commissioners wishes to provide for increased access for citizens of Hennepin County to serve on boards and committees which advise the board. The board also wishes to provide for a fair and open appointment process which ensures that the diversity of county residents is reflected on boards and committees advising the county.
Appointments to the unclassified service
- Vacancies in unclassified service positions to which the Hennepin County Board of Commissioners shall make appointments shall be announced at a regular board meeting at least four weeks prior to appointment by the board.
- Applicants for appointments to such positions shall submit application forms or resumes to the County Administrator, and recruitment and selection for such positions shall be in accordance with county personnel procedures based on formal job specifications and approved affirmative action policies.
- The County Administrator, pursuant to Minnesota Statute. section 383B.102, shall make a recommendation to the Hennepin County Board of Commissioners as to the candidate for appointment to such vacant position. At the same time, the County Administrator shall transmit to the board a list of all candidates who applied for such position.
- The County Administrator's recommendation for appointment shall be assigned to a committee of the board by the Chair. The applicant recommended by the County Administrator may be interviewed before the appropriate committee of the board upon agreement of a majority of the members of such committee.
- The committee shall recommend concurrence or rejection of the County Administrator's recommendation for action at the next regularly scheduled meeting of the board.
- Where in the judgment of the County Administrator the period of vacancy between resignation of the incumbent and appointment of the successor in such positions is not in the best interests of the county, an individual may be appointed to be an acting appointee pending board approval of the successful candidate.
- Resignations for any of the positions under this section shall be transmitted to the County Administrator who shall declare a vacancy and communicate the vacancy and effective date thereof to the board at its next regular meeting where the announcement of such vacancy shall be made pursuant to 5(a) of this policy
- If a vacancy occurs in the position of County Administrator, the appointment to such position shall be made pursuant to Minnesota Statute section 383B.103 under procedures established by the board meeting as a Committee of the Whole.
Appointments to committees
- Hennepin County contains a vast reservoir of talent and energy in its citizens. The purpose of this policy is to tap this reservoir to benefit county government. Further, by promoting broad-based participation by citizens in the committees, boards and commissions which advise County Commissioners and help set public policy, county government counters any perception that citizens have no opportunity to influence county policy. Broad-based participation also creates ambassadors for county programs and insures the diversity of county residents is reflected in county decision-making. It helps provide role models from various social, economic and cultural segments of the community.
- This Open Appointments Policy is designed to be an objective process characterized by increased access, fairness and equal opportunity, while preserving the qualitative and discretionary elements necessary to appoint the best qualified candidates possible.
- We also recognize that the Open Appointments Policy can provide an entry point for future leaders to involvement in civic activities and open access to the political process, which we want to encourage.
- Our community can only gain from the insights, variety of perspectives, new information and new methods of problem solving a broad based open appointments policy can bring to county government.
The goals of the Open Appointment Policy are:
- To ensure that all interested citizens of the county have opportunities to be considered for appointments.
- To establish standard procedures for appointing members to Hennepin County boards and commissions.
- To ensure to the greatest extent possible that all appointed boards reflect the diversity of county residents and are representative and balanced by geography, gender, culture and ethnicity and contain representatives of a variety of educational and employment backgrounds as well as interests, experiences and lifestyles.
- To ensure broad public participation by including a two-term limit and absence standard in the policy.
- To provide sufficient staff support through the Office of the Clerk of the Board, the Department of Human Resources and Employee Relations and the Department of Public Affairs to ensure a well-managed Open Appointments system. Further, to provide that departmental committee liaisons from appropriate departments are assigned to each committee so that relevant information is provided the managers of the system in a timely manner.
Staff will conduct the following activities to implement the Open Appointments Policy:
- Develop and maintain a database of all boards and committees including information on origin, duration, purpose, meeting times, board composition, number of members, terms of members, current membership roster and term expirations, qualifications, and other pertinent information. Copies of articles of incorporation, bylaws, statutes and any other documents related to the committees will be obtained and periodically updated.
- Develop standardized application materials and a tracking and reporting system which provides information on the balance and representation of the system.
- Produce and distribute materials including informational booklets, press releases and announcements concerning appointments; conduct recruitment activities, with emphasis on groups usually under-represented.
Distribute applications to interested citizens.
- Provide the County Board with information, applications and other materials so that appointments are made in a timely fashion, and according to the Open Appointment policy.
Application of policy
The Open Appointments Policy applies to county committees which contain citizen members and/or representatives of governmental and private sectors which report directly to the Hennepin County Board. It also applies to citizen appointments made to other bodies (such as the Minneapolis Planning Commission or the Hennepin County Extension Board) which have a certain number of Hennepin County Board appointment slots. It does not apply to committees which are comprised of staff people of governmental units and affiliated agencies which have a staff coordination or other such function and do not usually report to the board.
- Appointments covered by the Open Appointments Policy are those which are made by the Hennepin County Board as a whole, which have a fixed term (which has an end date and may require a reappointment or new appointment), and are to a committee or task force expected to have a duration of at least one year. This policy does not apply to ex-officio appointments or to appointments designated to be filled by Hennepin County Commissioners.
- Commissioners may, at their discretion, use the Open Appointments process for other appointments. They may also use applications on file from the Open Appointments application solicitation to fill slots on ad hoc or time-limited committees.
- In preparation for year-end term expirations and periodically throughout the year as necessary, the Clerk of the Board, with the assistance of the departmental liaisons, will prepare a list of appointments for committee positions which are vacant. (This would include vacancies caused by term expirations, resignations and the creation of new committees).
- These vacancies shall be widely advertised through mailings, announcements during televised board and committee meetings and advertisements in the media. During the major applicant solicitation in October and November (when applications for terms ending December 31 are being solicited), the Department of Public Affairs and Department of Human Resources and Employee Relations will mount a major public education and recruitment effort. Any special recruitment requested by a committee or required because of the nature of the committee shall be incorporated into the overall recruitment effort.
- All applicants shall be sent a standardized application form which will gather information necessary to track applicants in order to better achieve the committee balance goals of the policy. The application period shall close no less than thirty days from the vacancy announcement date.
- The Clerk of the Hennepin County Board will supply each commissioner with copies of the applications for each committee, together with a summary sheet for each committee which provides information on the demographics and other qualifications and characteristics of the applicants as well as a summary of the demographics of the committee, if applicable.
- The Chair of the Hennepin County Board shall place the appointments to each committee on the agenda of the appropriate board committee within three weeks of receiving the applications from the clerk.
Payment for legitimate expenses
To remove as many barriers as possible to service on committees by ordinary citizens of the county, expenses incurred in the course of committee service, subject to all applicable laws, rules and regulations, will be reimbursed by the county. This may include expenses for child care, travel and parking. Those who receive expense reimbursement from employers or other sources will not receive expense payments.
Time and location of committee meetings
Every effort will be made to conduct committee meetings at times and in locations which facilitate participation by citizens of the county.
If any person appointed under this policy misses three consecutive meetings, excluding special meetings, without being excused by the committee, that person's term will automatically expire, unless exception is made by the Hennepin County Board. Attendance reports will be submitted by the departmental liaison to the Clerk documenting such absence before the position is declared vacant under this provision of this policy.
All appointments which the Hennepin County Board shall make under the Open Appointments Policy shall be subject to a limit equal to the greater of two consecutive terms or six (6) years. Board Resolution 94-4-53R2 allows exceptions to be made to the Hennepin County Board's Open Appointments Policy regarding term limits by a 5/7 vote of the board.
Since Commissioner Districts are the basis for democratic representation on the Hennepin County Board, whenever legal and practical all boards, committees and task forces will include persons who reside in each of the commissioner districts.
The application form will ask applicants whether they are county employees, have a contract with the county or work for a county vendor, or are currently enrolled as a client in a county program or are receiving individual services from the county. In some instances the Board may wish to appoint persons with such experience, in some cases they may wish to appoint persons with less direct connection to the county. Where this is a qualification either way, the solicitation for applications for the particular appointment will so state.
Preference in appointments will be given to residents of Hennepin County, but exceptions may be made by the Board to include persons with exceptional qualifications.
Standardized information on applicants
The Office of the Clerk of the County Board, assisted by other departments as necessary, will develop a standardized application form to be submitted by all applicants under the Open Appointments Policy. The form will ask for information regarding age, sex, race and ethnicity, occupation, place of residence, relationship to the county or its vendors and any other information deemed to be necessary. This information will be used to track recruitment efforts and assist in efforts to achieve committee balance. All submission of information will be voluntary, and failure to supply information will not disqualify an applicant. Information will be gathered in the least intrusive manner possible.
When there are more than ten applicants for each position, the Hennepin County Board may direct the County Administrator to conduct an objective screening process designed to select the most qualified applicants for interviews with the board.
Whenever possible, the Hennepin County Board will make its appointments using the Open Appointment Process, from applications on file, provided such applicants qualify in the determination of the board. If no qualified applicants exist on file for a specific appointment, or if the board determines a more qualified candidate exists for the position, the board reserves the right to determine the means of selection of an appropriate individual.
It is the policy of Hennepin County government to provide equal access to appointments made by the Hennepin County Board to committees, task forces, boards and commissions, without regard to race, sex, creed, color, religion, age, disability, marital status, criminal record, national origin, sexual preference, or public assistance status, subject to statute, rule or regulation and any qualifications established by the Hennepin County Board.
Rules regarding the establishment of committees
In order for the Open Appointments Process to function, resolutions creating boards and committees which will be governed by this policy must contain the following information: name of committee, powers and duties, number of members together with any restrictions on eligibility, desirable qualifications, date of commencement and expiration of terms and expiration date of committee, appropriation if applicable, appointing authority(ies), responsible county staff department, and type of representational balance to be sought in membership.
The responsible county department will name a committee liaison, who will be responsible to keep the clerk informed as to the status and progress of the committee, any unexpected vacancies which may occur, Open Appointments information, and to submit any final reports and work products to the clerk, along with notice of the committee's conclusion.
NOTE: Some appointments are regulated by state or federal law or administrative rule. When there is a difference between this Open Appointments Policy and rule or statute with regard to an appointment, rule or statute will prevail.