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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. 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. The complete text of the act is located in Minnesota Statutes 15.0597.

Q: How do I find out about openings?

A: The Secretary of State publishes a monthly announcement of vacancies which is sent to radio and television stations, newspapers, and to any persons or organizations who are interested. Besides the vacancies, it lists the qualifications for membership, the functions and duties of the agencies, and the application deadlines. If you are interested in receiving the monthly Open Appointments announcements e-mail:

open.appointments@state.mn.us.

The monthly announcements also appear on this web site.

Q: Will I be paid?

A: The vast majority of positions listed in the Open Appointments announcements 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?

A: Download an Open Appointments application form, stop by the Elections public counter at Room 180 of the State Office Building,or request one by mail. Be sure to state the name of the specific board or council for which you are applying on your application. Submit the completed application to the Secretary of State.

Please remember that, in keeping with an open process, your application becomes public information once submitted.

Q: How are appointments made?

A: All applications submitted to the Secretary of State are forwarded on to those who make the appointments. These "appointing authorities" such as the governor, Minnesota state department commissioners, or agency directors may contact you 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 you are appointed, you 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 Compilation and Statistical 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 Open Appointments Annual Compilation is available on this web site 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: 1/6/2010 11:29:56 AM