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Minnesota Office of the Secretary of State

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What are Open Appointments?

A: The Open Appointments process is used as a clearinghouse for public openings on state agencies, boards, commissions and councils. It is administered by the Secretary of State, who announces vacancies to the public, refers applications to those who make the appointments, and maintains records of the memberships on the various state boards and councils.

Q: Why does Minnesota have Open Appointments?

A: The Minnesota Open Appointments Act was authorized by the Legislature in 1978 to simplify and open up the appointment process. Information about the functions of the various state boards and councils and their membership is made available to the public. All persons have an equal opportunity to apply and be considered for appointment. Through participation on state boards and councils, individuals can get directly involved in the policies and services of state government. The Minnesota Open Appointments process has become a nationwide model for citizen participation.

Q: How do I find out about openings?

A: A monthly notice of vacancies is posted on the office's website and emailed to those who subscribe for the notice. In addition to the vacancies, the monthly notice lists the functions and duties of the agencies, qualifications for membership, and application deadlines.

Q: Will I be paid?

A: The vast majority of positions listed in the Open Appointments notice are volunteer positions. Many boards and councils do pay a small per diem and expenses for attending meetings and conducting authorized activities.

Q: How do I apply?

Open Appointments Application may be completed and submitted online; or,

Open Appointments Application (downloadable) may be printed, completed and submitted by email to, or in person or by mail to:

Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State
180 State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd.
St. Paul, MN 55155-1299
Phone: (651) 297-5845

Applicants may also submit a cover letter, resume or other information which might be helpful to the appointing authority. Applications become public information once submitted.

Q: How are appointments made?

A: All applications submitted to the Secretary of State are forwarded to those who make the appointments. These appointing authorities, such as the governor, Minnesota state department commissioners, or agency directors may contact applicants for further information or interviews.

Although vacancies are required to remain open for at least three weeks after they are announced, they can remain open longer. If appointed, the applicant will be contacted by the appointing authority for the state board or council.

Q: How do I find out more?

A: Every November the Secretary of State publishes the Minnesota Open Appointments Annual Report. The report includes a list of state boards and councils that are subject to the Open Appointments process. It also describes the agencies, their membership, and statistical information about appointments and vacancies made during the past fiscal year. The annual compilation also indicates members with terms scheduled to end in January.

Many of these positions may still be open for application. The Minnesota Open Appointments Annual Report is available on this website or may be picked up from the Secretary of State Office, 180 State Office Building, Saint Paul, Minnesota 55155.


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Last updated: 5/8/2014 1:43:06 PM