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HF 1179

as introduced - 89th Legislature (2015 - 2016) Posted on 02/23/2015 02:31pm

KEY: stricken = removed, old language.
underscored = added, new language.

Bill Text Versions

Engrossments
Introduction Posted on 02/23/2015

Current Version - as introduced

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A bill for an act
relating to local government; authorizing the appointment of specified county
offices; amending Minnesota Statutes 2014, sections 375.08; 375A.10,
subdivision 5; 375A.12, subdivision 2; 382.01; 382.02; proposing coding for new
law in Minnesota Statutes, chapter 375A.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA:

Section 1.

Minnesota Statutes 2014, section 375.08, is amended to read:


375.08 BOARD TO FILL VACANCIES IN COUNTY OFFICES.

When a vacancy occurs in the office ofnew text begin an electednew text end county auditor, county treasurer,
county recorder, sheriff, county attorney, county surveyor, or coroner, the county board
shall fill it by appointment. For that purpose it shall meet at the usual place of meeting,
upon one day's notice from the chair or clerk, which shall be served personally upon each
member in the same manner as a district court summons. The person appointed shall give
the bond and take the oath required by law, and serve the remainder of the term, and until
a successor qualifies. When a vacancy occurs in an office that has a chief deputy or first
assistant, the chief deputy or first assistant may perform all the duties and functions of the
office until it is filled by appointment by the county board.

Sec. 2.

Minnesota Statutes 2014, section 375A.10, subdivision 5, is amended to read:


Subd. 5.

Auditor-treasurer.

In any county exercising the option provided
in subdivision 2, clause (c), the office shall be known thereafter as the office of
auditor-treasurer, if the office is to remain elective. If the board chooses to make the
office of auditor-treasurer elective, and not require a referendum, it must act with the
concurrence of 80 percent of its members.

In the exercise of this option, the county board shall direct which of the offices of
auditor or treasurer shall be terminated for the purpose of providing for the election to
the single office of auditor-treasurer. The duties, functions and responsibilities which
have been heretofore and which shall hereafter be required by statute to be performed
by the county auditor and the county treasurer shall be vested in and performed by the
auditor-treasurer without diminishing, prohibiting or avoiding those specific duties
required by statute to be performed by the county auditor and the county treasurer.

Nothing in this subdivision shall preclude the county from exercising the option to
make the combined office of auditor-treasurer appointive as if it had been specifically
enumerated in subdivision 2. If the combined office is to be appointive, a referendum
under section 375A.12 shall be necessarynew text begin, except as provided by section 375A.1205new text end.

If the combined office is to be elective, a referendum under section 375A.12 shall
be necessary if:

(a) the county board requires a referendum; or

(b) a referendum is required by a petition of a number of voters equal to ten
percent of those voting in the county at the last general election that is received by the
county auditor within 30 days after the second publication of the board resolution that
orders the combination.

The persons last elected to the positions of auditor and treasurer before adoption
of the resolution shall serve in those offices and perform the duties of those offices until
the completion of the terms to which they were elected.

Sec. 3.

Minnesota Statutes 2014, section 375A.12, subdivision 2, is amended to read:


Subd. 2.

Form of government options.

new text beginExcept as provided in section 375A.1205
or by special law,
new text endthe options provided in sections 375A.01 to 375A.10 shall be adopted
in any county only after an affirmative vote of the voters in the county on the question
of the adoption of the option. Except as provided in section 375A.01, only one such
plan may be submitted at any one election.

Sec. 4.

new text begin [375A.1205] APPOINTING COUNTY OFFICERS.
new text end

new text begin Subdivision 1. new text end

new text begin Authority to appoint certain officers. new text end

new text begin A county board may
appoint the county auditor, county treasurer, or county recorder, under section 375A.10,
subdivision 2, or the auditor-treasurer under section 375A.10, subdivision 5, by following
the process outlined in this section. Notwithstanding section 375A.12, a referendum is not
required if the appointment is made pursuant to this section. A county board shall only use
the authority to appoint under the following circumstances:
new text end

new text begin (1) there is a vacancy in the office, due to resignation or death; or
new text end

new text begin (2) there is a signed contract with the county board and the incumbent auditor,
treasurer, auditor-treasurer, or recorder which provides that the incumbent officer will be
appointed to the position and retain tenure, pay, and benefits equal to or greater than
length of service.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 2. new text end

new text begin Responsibility of county officer. new text end

new text begin At least 104 days prior to the filing date
for office under section 204B.09, an elected county officer must notify the county board
in writing whether he or she will be filing for another term. If the current county officer
indicates in writing they will not file for the office and the county board has passed a
resolution under subdivision 6, affidavits of candidacy will not be accepted for that office,
and the office will not be placed on the ballot.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 3. new text end

new text begin Board controls; may change as long as duties done. new text end

new text begin Upon adoption of
a resolution by the county board of commissioners and subject to subdivisions 5 and 6,
the duties of an elected official required by statute whose office is made appointive as
authorized by this section must be discharged by the county board of commissioners
acting through a department head appointed by the board for that purpose. Reorganization,
reallocation, delegation, or other administrative change or transfer does not diminish,
prohibit, or avoid the discharge of duties required by statute.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 4. new text end

new text begin Discharge or demotion. new text end

new text begin (a) A county auditor, county treasurer, county
auditor-treasurer, or county recorder who was elected at the most recent election for that
office prior to a county board resolution to make the office appointed, and is appointed
by the county board to the office, may not be involuntarily demoted or discharged except
for incompetency or misconduct.
new text end

new text begin (b) Prior to demoting or discharging an office holder under this subdivision, the board
must notify the office holder in writing and state its ground for the proposed demotion or
discharge in reasonable detail. Within ten days after receipt of this notification, the office
holder may make a written request for a hearing before an arbitrator and it shall be granted
before final action is taken. Failure to request a hearing before an arbitrator during this
period is considered acquiescence to the board's action. The board may suspend an office
holder with pay pending the conclusion of the hearing and determination of the issues
raised in the hearing after charges have been filed which constitute ground for demotion or
discharge. If an office holder has been charged with a felony and the underlying conduct
that is the subject of the felony charge is a ground for a proposed discharge, the suspension
pending the conclusion of the hearing and determination of the issues may be without pay.
If a hearing under this subdivision is held, the board must reimburse the office holder for
any salary or compensation withheld if the final decision of the arbitrator does not result in
a penalty or discharge of the office holder.
new text end

new text begin (c) If the office holder and the board are unable to mutually agree on an arbitrator,
the board must request from the Bureau of Mediation Services a list of seven persons
qualified to serve as an arbitrator. If the office holder and the board are unable to mutually
agree on an arbitrator from the list provided, the parties shall alternately strike names from
the list until the name of one arbitrator remains. The person remaining after the striking
procedure must be the arbitrator. If the parties are unable to agree on who shall strike the
first name, the question must be decided by a flip of a coin. The office holder and the board
must share equally the costs and fees of the arbitrator except as set forth in paragraph (g).
new text end

new text begin (d) The arbitrator shall determine, by a preponderance of the evidence, whether the
grounds for discharge or demotion exist to support the proposed discharge or demotion. A
lesser penalty than demotion or discharge may be imposed by the arbitrator only to the
extent that either party proposes such lesser penalty in the proceeding. In making the
determination, the arbitration proceeding is governed by sections 572B.15 to 572B.28.
new text end

new text begin (e) An arbitration hearing conducted under this subdivision is a meeting for
preliminary consideration of allegations or charges within the meaning of section 13D.05,
subdivision 3, paragraph (a), and must be closed, unless the office holder requests it to
be open.
new text end

new text begin (f) The arbitrator's award is final and binding on the parties, subject to sections
572B.18 to 572B.28.
new text end

new text begin (g) In the event the arbitrator rules not to demote or discharge the office holder,
the board shall pay all of the costs and fees of the arbitrator and the attorney fees of the
office holder.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 5. new text end

new text begin Incumbents to complete term. new text end

new text begin The person elected at the last general
election to an office made appointive under this section must serve in that capacity and
perform the duties, functions, and responsibilities required by statute until the completion
of the term of office to which the person was elected, or until a vacancy occurs in the
office, whichever occurs earlier.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 6. new text end

new text begin Publishing resolution; petition, referendum. new text end

new text begin (a) Before the adoption of
the resolution to provide for the appointment of an office as described in subdivision 1,
the county board must publish a proposed resolution notifying the public of its intent to
consider the issue once each week, for two consecutive weeks, in the official publication
of the county. Following publication and prior to formally adopting the resolution, the
county board shall provide an opportunity at its next regular meeting for public comment
relating to the issue. After the public comment opportunity, at the same meeting or a
subsequent meeting, the county board of commissioners may adopt a resolution that
provides for the appointment of the office or offices as permitted in this section. The
resolution must be approved by at least 80 percent of the members of the county board.
The resolution may take effect 30 days after it is adopted, or at a later date stated in the
resolution, unless a petition is filed as provided in paragraph (b).
new text end

new text begin (b) Except when an office is made appointive under subdivision 1, clause (2), within
30 days after the county board adopts the resolution, a petition requesting a referendum
may be filed with the county auditor. The petition must be signed by at least ten percent
of the registered voters of the county. The petition must meet the requirements of the
secretary of state, as provided in section 204B.071, and any rules adopted to implement
that section. If the petition is sufficient, the county board resolution is rescinded.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 7. new text end

new text begin Reverting to elected offices. new text end

new text begin (a) The county board may adopt a resolution
to provide for the election of an office made an appointed position under this section, but
not until at least three years after the office was made an appointed position. The county
board must publish a proposed resolution notifying the public of its intent to consider
the issue once each week, for two consecutive weeks, in the official publication of the
county. Following publication and before formally adopting the resolution, the county
board must provide an opportunity at its next regular meeting for public comment relating
to the issue. After the public comment opportunity, at the same meeting or a subsequent
meeting, the county board of commissioners may adopt the resolution. The resolution
must be approved by at least 60 percent of the members of the county board and is
effective August 1 following adoption of the resolution.
new text end

new text begin (b) The question of whether an office made an appointed position under this section
must be made an elected office must be placed on the ballot at the next general election if
(1) the position has been an appointed position for at least three years; (2) a petition signed
by at least ten percent of the registered voters of the county is filed with the office of the
county auditor by August 1 of the year in which the general election is held; and (3) the
petition meets the requirements of the secretary of state, as provided in section 204B.071,
and any rules adopted to implement that section. If a majority of the voters of the county
voting on the question vote in favor of making the office an elected position, the election
for that office must be held at the next regular or special election.
new text end

Sec. 5.

Minnesota Statutes 2014, section 382.01, is amended to read:


382.01 OFFICERS ELECTED; TERMS.

In every county in this state there shall be elected at the general election in 1918 a
county auditor, a county treasurer, sheriff, county recorder, county attorney, and coroner.

The terms of office of these officers shall be four years and shall begin on the first
Monday in January next succeeding their election. They shall hold office until their
successors are elected and qualified. new text beginEach of new text endthese offices deleted text beginshalldeleted text endnew text begin mustnew text end be filled by election
every four years thereafternew text begin, unless an office is consolidated with another county officer or
made appointive under chapter 375A or other general or special law
new text end.

Sec. 6.

Minnesota Statutes 2014, section 382.02, is amended to read:


382.02 VACANCIES, HOW FILLED.

Any appointment made to fill a vacancy in any of the offices named in section
382.01 new text beginthat has not been made appointive under chapter 375A or other general or special
law
new text endshall be for the balance of such entire term, and be made by the county board.