Open government

As part of our effort to be a transparent and inclusive organization that is accountable to its residents, we encourage you to engage with us. You have a voice in your government and your participation helps us be more efficient and effective at providing the services and information you have a right to.

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Plain language

Writing you can understand

We at Hennepin County are committed to communicating to the public using language that is easy to understand. We’re training our employees to write clearly, and we have strengthened our oversight process.

Why we make this commitment

The Plain Writing Act of 2010 requires all federal agencies to write "clear government communication that the public can understand and use.” The goal is for agencies to produce “writing that is clear, concise, well-organized, and consistent with other best practices appropriate to the subject or field and intended audience.”

We share this goal and believe that plain writing should be used in all government communications, not just at the federal level. Therefore, we have adopted the federal standards for Hennepin County communication.

Let us know how we’re doing

You can help us meet our plain language goals by letting us know when we fall short. If you have trouble understanding any of our documents or any material on our website, please send an email to the county's Public Affairs department, pa.writing@hennepin.us.

Learn more

Find out more about the Hennepin County's plain language program and how organizations are changing the way they communicate to the public.

Americans with Disabilities Act

Hennepin County obeys the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA forbids discrimination against people based on their disability.

County programs and services are for everyone, including anyone with a speech, sight, hearing, or other disability. The county is required to help people with disabilities take part in its programs and services.

If you need help because of a disability, tell a county staff person. If that person cannot help you, ask to talk to the staff person's supervisor.

More information on ADA

If you want to:

  • See the ADA law or regulations
  • Ask questions about your rights under the ADA
  • Ask for a change in county policies or practices because of your disability
  • Get more help with something that concerns your disability

Contact Jim Ramnaraine, county ADA coordinator

  • 612-348-7741 (voice)
  • 612-349-5467 (TTY)

Web accessibility

Hennepin County makes all reasonable efforts to ensure that websites and web applications linked from Hennepin.us are accessible in commonly used browsers and operating system platforms. We strive to meet the accessibility standards required of federal government websites (section 508) and accessibility guidelines of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), as well as to conform to WCAG 2.0 Level AA standards where feasible.

Accessing multimedia and downloaded files

The county strives to make the majority of the information it provides on its website accessible through commonly used web browsers. In some cases, unique circumstances or special content characteristics require that content be provided in a format that may not be viewable in a standard web browser.

In these cases, it may be necessary to download and install additional software to view content on the Hennepin County website. Below, links to free applications which can be downloaded to view such content on the Hennepin County website are provided.

Viewing PDF documents 

Viewing DOC, DOCX, and RTF documents 

ADA and web standards

Hennepin County complies with ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) recommendations for text size and also supports assistive technologies that translate webpages into speech for the visually impaired. Detailed information on implementing ADA guidelines can be found at: http://www.section508.gov/.

If you experience an accessibility problem with this website or need information in alternate formats, notify the primary contact for the service or information you are viewing, located in the right navigation panels of each webpage. If a page has no contact, use the "Contact" link in the top navigation bar.

If you have problems or general questions about the accessibility policy, email webteam@hennepin.us.

Social media at Hennepin County

Stay connected with social media at Hennepin County. In the spirit of community, please use the following guidelines and refrain from posting material that is:

  • Profanity or hate speech
  • Advertisements or solicitation
  • Deceptive or misleading

In these cases, we reserve the right to hide or delete your post(s) and/or comment(s).

County program Sites
Hennepin County  Link to Hennepin County facebook page Link to Hennepin County Twitter page Link to Hennepin County flicker page  Link to Hennepin County You Tube page Link to Hennepin County Linked In page
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Library Link to Hennepin County facebook page  Link to Hennepin County Twitter page  Link to Hennepin County flicker page   Link to Hennepin County You Tube page Link to Hennepin County Tumbler page
Hennepin County Medical Center Link to Hennepin County facebook page Link to Hennepin County Twitter page
County Attorney's Office Link to Hennepin County facebook page
be@school Link to Hennepin County facebook page
Hennepin Jobs Link to Hennepin County Twitter page
Hennepin GIS Link to Hennepin County Twitter page

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Highest paid Hennepin County employees

As of December 2013, the top salaries at Hennepin County are:

  • Medical Examiner at $237,526
  • Psychiatrist at $211,006
  • Assistant Medical Examiner at $202,114

Performance measures

Counties perform hundreds of services, including record keeping, property assessment, road construction and maintenance, election administration, child welfare, public health, economic development, planning and zoning, and libraries, to name just a few.

To help determine how effective our efforts are, Hennepin County is taking part in a program sponsored by the state’s Council on Local Results and Innovation. This program established a set of performance measures that residents can use to see how effective counties are in providing key services.

What we measured

Hennepin County tracked 11 performance measures in nine categories.

Elections

Voting is the cornerstone of a democracy, and Hennepin County plays an important role by providing voter registration and election administration for federal, state and county elections. Duties include ballot preparation, absentee voting, compilation of election results, candidate filings, campaign finance reporting, and administration of more than 700,000 voter registration records.

How accurate is the vote count?

In even-numbered years, the County Canvassing Board selects precincts that will have election results audited. The audit is a hand count of the ballots compared against the election-night machine count.

In 2012 — the last even-year election — 13 precincts were randomly selected for audit. 

  • All 13 precincts had 100% accuracy

Hennepin County working for you

“We test beforehand to make sure everything goes right. With audits, we verify that the machines worked, that everything went smoothly in the polling places, and that everything is completely accurate.”

Kristin Reid, Elections

Library

Hennepin County Library is consistently recognized as one of the top library systems in the United States. With more than five million books, CDs, DVDs and other items in 40 languages, the 41-library system helps support and foster a community that is reading, learning, graduating, working and engaging.

How often do residents visit Hennepin County Library?

  • In 2012 there were an estimated 5.4 million in-person visits — an average of 4.56 visits per resident.
  • The library also provided in-home service to patrons who could not go to a library due to disability, illness or lack of transportation, and brought outreach services to nearly 100 sites, including senior housing and correctional facilities.

Hennepin County working for you

“The library continues to be an integral part of the lives of Hennepin County residents. Whether they visit in person, online, or in their own community, they choose the library as a place to nourish their minds, transform their lives, and build community together.”

Judith Friedrich, Hennepin County Library

Probation/Corrections

Hennepin County manages the largest local corrections system in the state, supervising both adult and juvenile offenders. Whether those offenders are serving time in institutions, are on probation or parole, or are participating in electronic home monitoring or community service, the county works to reduce the risk that new crimes will be committed.

After people complete a sentence for committing a crime, how many of them re-offend?

Recidivism refers to a person's relapse into criminal behavior after serving time or undergoing intervention for a previous crime.

  • One-year recidivism rate for all offenders (December 2010 clients) = 23.5%
  • Two-year recidivism rate for all offenders (December 2009 clients) = 33.9%
  • Three-year recidivism rate for adults on probation (discharge in 2008) = 19.2%

Hennepin County working for you

“We are working hard to reduce recidivism rates by assessing the risks and needs of people on probation, then using interventions targeted at their unique situations. We try to get to the root of what’s going on and treat the causes of crime, not the symptoms.”

Jay Hester, Community Corrections and Rehabilitation

Public Health

One of Hennepin County’s primary goals is that people are healthy and have access to quality health care. To achieve this goal, the county supports a wide range of programs and services that help residents become and stay healthy.

How healthy do county residents say they are?

Hennepin County periodically surveys and reports on the health of county residents. The most recent Survey of the Health of All the Population and the Environment showed:

Public Safety

Hennepin County plays an important role in protecting our communities. We work to ensure that people are safe from harm through prevention, early intervention, and treatment services.

How many crimes are committed each year in the county?

Each month, law enforcement agencies report the number of known crimes in their jurisdiction to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). These crimes are divided into two major groups:

  • Part I offenses — violent and property crimes (murder, forcible rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson)
  • Part II offenses — other crimes

Total part I and II offenses per 100,000 residents:

  • 2011 — 6,855
  • 2010 — 9,368
  • 2009 — 9,806

Public Works

One of Hennepin County's primary goals is that people and goods move easily and safely throughout the county and the region via an integrated system of transportation. One way the county accomplishes this is by developing, operating and maintaining a safe, effective county highway system.

How long does it take to plow all the county roads after a snowstorm?

Hennepin County plows start work at 2 a.m. after it snows, clearing roads and melting ice on 137 county bridges and more than 1,800 lane miles. A “lane mile” is a mile in one lane of a road — the distance a plow can cover in one pass. One mile of a four-lane road equals four lane miles to be plowed.

Hours to plow the complete county road system:

  • 2012-2013 urban — 4:42
  • 2012-2013 rural — 4:36
  • 2011-2012 urban — 4:36
  • 2011-2012 rural — 4:36
  • 2010-2011 urban — 4:36
  • 2010-2011 rural — 4:23

How safe and comfortable are county roads to drive on?

Each year, inspectors rate the experience of driving on county roads. The roads are scored on a scale developed by the American Association of State Highway Officials.

County pavement condition rating — percent of lane miles rated "Good" or "Very Good":

  • 2012 — 60.5%
  • 2011 — 52.9%
  • 2010 — 54.3%
  • 2009 — 46.6%
  • 2008 — 48.1%
  • 2007 — 51.5%
  • 2006 — 49.4%
  • 2005 — 47%

Hennepin County working for you

“One of the county’s goals is to have good, effective roads year-round for people. Daylight, night, they’re not going to have to worry about running into a pothole or slipping on the ice, because we’re keeping things in the best shape we can.”

Matt Korfiatis, Public Works

Social Services

Hennepin County provides essential support for the county’s most vulnerable residents. We assist children and families, seniors, people with disabilities, and others who need help meeting their basic needs so they can live in dignity and achieve their highest potential.

What percentage of people in work and welfare reform programs are working?

When most families apply for cash assistance in Minnesota, they are referred to the Diversionary Work Program (DWP) or the Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP).

  • In 2011, the work participation rate in Hennepin County for the MFIP program was estimated at 39.2 percent.
  • In 2010, an average of 47 percent of Hennepin County families were not on MFIP in the month after DWP eligibility ended.

When the county gets involved in a home after a child is abused or neglected, how frequently does maltreatment happen again?

Recurrence of maltreatment of children within 12 months of intervention:

  • July 2011 - June 2012 — 9.7%
  • July 2010 - June 2011 — 10.3%
  • July 2009 - June 2010 — 9.6%

Hennepin County working for you

“We investigate every report of child abuse or neglect — regardless of the source — that meets state screening criteria. We look into the accuracy of the report and ensure the safety of the child. Ideally, we never want to see a family come back a second time.”

Greg Gardner, Human Services & Public Health

Taxation

In Minnesota, property taxes provide most of the funding for local government services. A property's share of taxes is partly determined according to its value. Hennepin County assessors estimate property values by viewing properties, gathering information about them, and analyzing actual sales amounts of similar properties.

How accurate are Hennepin County property assessments?

To track how accurate property assessments are, assessed values are compared to market values to determine an average assessment ratio. A ratio of 100 percent means that the assessed value exactly matched the market value.

Average assessment ratio — single-family detached housing

  • 2012: 97.1% of sale price
  • 2011: 96.9% of sale price
  • 2010: 97.4% of sale price
  • 2009: 96.3% of sale price
  • 2008: 95.9% of sale price

Veterans' Services

Hennepin County provides assistance and support to veterans and their dependents to help them obtain any of a variety of benefits provided by the state of Minnesota and the federal government.

How helpful is Hennepin County Veterans’ Service when people need information?

To measure their effectiveness, Veterans' Service staff survey the people who come to them for help.

In 2012, at least 95 percent of veterans reported that they are able to get what they need from the county, that staff members pay attention to them and give clear information on service choices, and that the services they receive make them better able to do the things they want to do.

Hennepin County working for you

“We want our veterans to be satisfied, knowing that we treated them well and they got what they were promised. Many veterans come here without a hope. If I have one vet who smiles when they leave this office, it makes my day.”

Sarah McGinty, Veterans' Service

Legislative priorities and platforms

Hennepin County Intergovernmental Relations coordinates the development of the county's legislative proposals and actively pursues the legislative platform approved by the Hennepin County Board of Commissioners.

Hennepin County state legislative priorities and platforms

State and federal legislative websites

Legislative association websites

Contact us

Intergovernmental Relations
Email: IGR@hennepin.us
Phone: 612-348-3233
Fax: 612-348-8394

Mary Beth Davidson, Director
Email: Mary.Davidson@hennepin.us
Phone: 612-348-5120

Kathryn Lamp, Health & Human Services
Email: Kathryn.Lamp@hennepin.us
Phone: 612-596-9711

David Godfrey, HCMC
Email: David.Godfrey@hennepin.us
Phone: 612-873-2196

Ellen Hacker, Coordinator
Email: Ellen.Hacker@hennepin.us
Phone: 612-348-3233

Data practices requests

You have the right to the county’s public data under the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act. You can look at the data for free or get copies for a charge. State law requires the county to make it easy for you to get access to the data.

State law treats government data as public unless another state or federal law specifies it’s not public. "Government data" means all recorded information including paper, email, CD-ROMs, and photos.

How to request data

Make a written request to the appropriate data practices contact listed below.

To make a request without the form, put your request in writing

  1. State what you are asking for under the Data Practices Act, Minnesota Statutes Chapter 13.
  2. Specify whether you want to look at the data, get copies, or both.
  3. Provide a clear and detailed description of the data.

The county cannot require you to identify yourself or explain why you’re asking for data. However, depending on how you want the county to process your request (e.g., you want to receive copies of the data by mail), the staff might need some information about you. If you choose not to identify yourself, county employees will give you a contact so you can check the status of your request. If county employees don't understand your request and have no way to contact you, the county can’t process your request.

Hennepin County data practices responsible authorities

Kathleen M. Washenberger
A-1900 Hennepin County Government Center
300 South 6th Street
Minneapolis, MN 55487
Phone: 612-348-6596
Email: Kathleen.Washenberger@hennepin.us

Jill Meidinger, Designee
Hennepin County Government Center
300 South 6th Street – MC 190
Minneapolis, MN 55487
Phone: 612-348-4018
Email: Jill.Meidinger@hennepin.us

Sarah Lawler, Designee
Hennepin County Government Center
300 South 6th Street – MC 191
Minneapolis, MN 55487
Phone: 612-348-5247
Email: Sarah.Lawler@hennepin.us

Human Services and Public Health Department requests

Kristi Lahti-Johnson, HSPHD Privacy Officer
300 South 6th Street
Minneapolis, MN 55487-0160
Phone: 612-348-3937
Email: Kristi.Lahti-Johnson@hennepin.us

Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office requests

Carrie L. Hill, Responsible Authority
City Hall Courthouse
350 South 5th Street
Minneapolis, MN 55415
Phone: 612-348-5591
Email: Carrie.Hill@hennepin.us

Major Tracey A. Martin, Responsible Authority Designee
Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office
City Hall Courthouse
350 South 5th Street
Minneapolis, MN 55415
Phone: 612-596-9759
Email: Tracey.Martin@hennepin.us

How the county responds to your request

When the county receives your request, it works to process that request. If the county doesn’t have the data, or the data is not public, county staff will notify you as soon as possible and give you the reason why any data is not public.

When the county has the data and it's public

  • If you want to look at data, county staff will arrange a date, time and place for you to do so, at no cost.
  • If you want a copy of data, county employees provide copies as soon as possible. You can pick up your copies, or have them sent to you. You must give the county an address or fax number. If you request electronic copies, the county will provide them if it has them in electronic format, like email or CD-ROM.

If you don’t understand some of the data, like technical terms, abbreviations or acronyms, county employees will explain it. If the county doesn’t have the data, state law does not require it to create or collect new data in response to a data request. The county is also not required to provide data in a specific form or arrangement if it doesn’t already keep the data in that form. For example, if the data you ask for are on paper only, the county is not required to create electronic documents. The law also does not require the county to answer questions that are not included in the request.

Requests for summary data

Summary data are records that are specially prepared so they leave out private or confidential information about individuals. Preparing summary data is not done to provide access to private or confidential data. To make a request for summary data, make your request in writing using the Data Request Form.

Copy costs

State law allows the county to charge the public for copies of government data. For 100 or fewer paper copies, the charge is 25 cents per copy. For most other types or amounts of copies, the charge varies. It depends on whether a charge is set by rule or law, or the cost of searching for, retrieving, copying, or transmitting the data. The county factors in employee time, cost of materials, and mailing costs. If the county hires an outside party to make copies of items it can’t reproduce, like photos, the county passes that cost on to you. If your request is expected to go above $50, the county will ask for half the payment up front.

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