447.32 Officers and elections.
Subdivision 1. Terms of office. Each hospital district shall be governed by a hospital board composed of one member elected from each city and town in the district and one member elected at large. A member's term of office is four years commencing on the first Monday in January and until a successor qualifies. At the first election, however, members must be elected for terms set by the governing body calling the election, so that half the terms, as nearly as may be, expire on the first Monday in January of the next odd-numbered year and the remaining terms expire two years from that date. After that, before a member's term expires, a new member shall be elected for a term of four years from the expiration date.
If a member dies, resigns, fails to qualify, or moves from the hospital district, a successor may be appointed by a majority of the remaining members of the board. The successor shall hold office until the first Monday in January after the next regular hospital district election. At the election a successor must be elected to fill the unexpired term.
When an additional city or town is annexed to the district, in accordance with section 447.36, its governing body shall by resolution appoint a member to the board. The member shall hold office until the first Monday in January after the next regular hospital district election. At the election a successor must be elected for a term of either two or four years, to be set by the hospital board so that the number of members of the board whose terms expire in any later year will not exceed one-half of the members plus one.
Subd. 2. Elections. Except as provided in this chapter, the Minnesota Election Law applies to hospital district elections, as far as practicable. Regular elections must be held in each hospital district at the same time, in the same election precincts, and at the same polling places as general elections of state and county officers. It may establish the whole district as a single election precinct or establish two or more different election precincts and polling places for the elections. If there is more than one precinct, the boundaries of the election precincts and the locations of the polling places must be defined in the notice of election, either in full or by reference to a description or map on file in the office of the clerk.
Special elections may be called by the hospital board to vote on any matter required by law to be submitted to the voters. A special election may not be conducted either during the 30 days before and the 30 days after the state primary or state general election, or during the 20 days before and the 20 days after the regularly scheduled election of any municipality wholly or partially within the hospital district. Special elections must be held within the election precinct or precincts and at the polling place or places designated by the board. In the case of the first election of officers of a new district, precincts and polling places must be set by the governing body of the most populous city or town included in the district.
Advisory ballots may be submitted by the hospital board on any question it wishes, concerning the affairs of the district, but only at a regular election or at a special election required for another purpose.
Subd. 3. Election notices. At least two weeks before the first day to file affidavits of candidacy, the clerk of the district shall publish a notice stating the first and last day on which affidavits of candidacy may be filed, the places for filing the affidavits and the closing time of the last day for filing. The clerk shall post a similar notice in at least one conspicuous place in each city and town in the district at least ten days before the first day to file affidavits of candidacy.
At least 53 days prior to every hospital district election, the hospital district clerk shall provide a written notice to the county auditor of each county in which the hospital district is located. The notice must include the date of the election, the offices to be voted on at the election, and the title and language for each ballot question to be voted on at the election. At least 46 days before a hospital district election for which a notice is provided to the county auditor under this subdivision, the county auditor shall provide a notice to the secretary of state in a manner and including information prescribed by the secretary of state.
The notice of each election must be posted in at least one public and conspicuous place within each city and town included in the district at least ten days before the election. It must be published in the official newspaper of the district or, if a paper has not been designated, in a legal newspaper having general circulation within the district, at least two weeks before the election. Failure to give notice does not invalidate the election of an officer of the district. A voter may contest a hospital district election in accordance with chapter 209. Chapter 209 applies to hospital district elections.
Subd. 4. Candidates; ballots; certifying election. A person who wants to be a candidate for the hospital board shall file an affidavit of candidacy for the election either as member at large or as a member representing the city or town where the candidate resides. The affidavit of candidacy must be filed with the city or town clerk not more than ten weeks nor less than eight weeks before the Tuesday after the second Monday in September of the year in which the general election is held. The city or town clerk must forward the affidavits of candidacy to the clerk of the hospital district or, for the first election, the clerk of the most populous city or town immediately after the last day of the filing period. A candidate may withdraw from the election by filing an affidavit of withdrawal with the clerk of the district no later than 5:00 p.m. two days after the last day to file affidavits of candidacy.
Voting must be by secret ballot. The clerk shall prepare, at the expense of the district, necessary ballots for the election of officers. Ballots must be printed on tan paper and prepared as provided in the rules of the secretary of state. The ballots must be marked and initialed by at least two judges as official ballots and used exclusively at the election. Any proposition to be voted on may be printed on the ballot provided for the election of officers. The hospital board may also authorize the use of voting systems subject to chapter 206. Enough election judges may be appointed to receive the votes at each polling place. The election judges shall act as clerks of election, count the ballots cast, and submit them to the board for canvass.
After canvassing the election, the board shall issue a certificate of election to the candidate who received the largest number of votes cast for each office. The clerk shall deliver the certificate to the person entitled to it in person or by certified mail. Each person certified shall file an acceptance and oath of office in writing with the clerk within 30 days after the date of delivery or mailing of the certificate. The board may fill any office as provided in subdivision 1 if the person elected fails to qualify within 30 days, but qualification is effective if made before the board acts to fill the vacancy.
Subd. 5. Board meetings. Regular meetings of the hospital board must be held at least once a month, at a time and place the board sets by resolution. A hospital board which no longer operates a district hospital shall meet annually, or more frequently as determined by the board. Special meetings may be held:
(1) at any time upon the call of the chair or of any two other members;
(2) upon written notice mailed to each member three days before the meeting;
(3) upon other notice as the board by resolution may provide; or
(4) without notice if each member is present or files with the clerk a written consent to holding the meeting. The consent may be filed before or after the meeting. Any action within the authority of the board may be taken by the vote of a majority of the members present at a regular or adjourned regular meeting or at a duly called special meeting, if a quorum is present. A majority of all the members of the board constitutes a quorum, but a lesser number may meet and adjourn from time to time and compel the attendance of absent members.
Subd. 6. Officers' election. At its first regular meeting after each regular election, the board shall elect one of their number as chair. They shall also select a clerk and treasurer who may be members of the board or others. The chair, clerk, and treasurer shall hold office at the pleasure of the board, subject to the terms of any contract of employment that the board may enter into with the clerk or treasurer.
Subd. 7. Officers' duties. The chair shall preside at all meetings of the board, shall sign orders upon the treasurer for claims allowed by the board, and shall perform all duties usually incumbent upon a presiding officer. The clerk shall record the minutes of all meetings of the board, shall countersign all orders upon the treasurer, and shall be the custodian of district books and records. The treasurer shall be the custodian of all money received by the district, and shall pay out money only on orders signed by the chair and clerk. Each order must state the nature of the claim for which it is issued, the name of the payee, and the fund on which it is drawn. It may be drawn so that when signed by the treasurer in an appropriate place it becomes a check on the depository of funds of the hospital district. In case of absence, inability, or refusal of the chair, clerk, or treasurer to execute and disburse orders in payment of a claim duly allowed by the hospital board, the board may declare any of their offices vacant and fill them by appointment. The board may also appoint a deputy to perform the functions of the officers, subject to the officers' supervision and control.
Subd. 8. Compensation. The members of the hospital board shall receive the compensation fixed by the board. Each board member may also be reimbursed for actual and necessary expenses incurred in the performance of official duties as provided for state employees, except that mileage must be compensated under section 471.665, subdivision 1.
Subd. 9. Liability for damages. Except as otherwise provided in this subdivision, no person who serves without compensation as a member of the board of a hospital district created or organized under sections 447.31 to 447.37 shall be held civilly liable for an act or omission by that person if the act or omission was in good faith, was within the scope of the person's responsibilities as a member of the board and did not constitute willful or reckless misconduct. This subdivision does not apply to:
(1) an action or proceeding brought by the attorney general for a breach of a fiduciary duty as a director;
(2) a cause of action to the extent it is based on federal law; or
(3) a cause of action based on the board member's express contractual obligation.
Nothing in this subdivision shall be construed to limit the liability of a member of the board for physical injury to the person of another or for wrongful death which is personally and directly caused by the board member.
For purposes of this subdivision the term "compensation" means any thing of value received for services rendered, except:
(1) reimbursement for expenses actually incurred;
(2) a per diem in an amount not to exceed the per diem authorized for state advisory councils and committees pursuant to section 15.059, subdivision 3; or
(3) payment by the hospital district of insurance premiums on behalf of a member of the board.
HIST: 1959 c 570 s 2; 1965 c 51 s 76,77; 1971 c 338 s 1; 1973 c 123 art 5 s 7; 1978 c 674 s 60; 1979 c 210 s 1,2; 1986 c 444; 1987 c 229 art 10 s 1; 1987 c 326 s 3; 1991 c 227 s 25-27; 1995 c 207 art 9 s 50; 1999 c 132 s 44; 2000 c 467 s 33,34; 2004 c 293 art 2 s 48,49