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S.F. No. 1012 - Stearns County Recorder Appointment
Author: Senator Jerry Relph
Prepared By: Priyanka Premo, Senate Counsel (651/296-3914)
Date: February 20, 2017


Section 1.

Subdivision 1 allows the Stearns County Board of Commissioners to adopt a resolution to make the office of county recorder an appointed position. Under current law, the Benton county recorder is elected. 

Subdivision 2 states that upon adoption of a resolution, the duties of the office must be discharged by the county board acting through a department head. This change does not diminish, prohibit, or avoid discharge of statutory duties.

Subdivision 3 requires that the person currently elected to the position be allowed to finish their term. The position does not become appointive until the incumbent completes his or her term or leaves the office for other reasons.

Subdivision 4 provides that before the county board adopts a resolution to appoint the county recorder, the board must give notice to the public by publishing the proposed resolution.  There must also be a public hearing prior to adoption of the resolution.  The resolution must be approved by at least 80 percent of the members of the county board.  Within 60 days of the adoption of the resolution, a petition requesting a referendum may be filed with the county auditor-treasurer.  The petition must be signed by at least ten percent of the registered voters of the county.  If the petition meets the stated requirements, the question of appointing the positions must be placed on the ballot at a regular or special election.  If a majority of voters voting on the question vote in favor of appointment, the resolution may be implemented. If no petition is filed within the 60-day period, the resolution takes effect 60 days after its adoption or at a later date stated in the resolution.

Subdivision 5 allows the county board to revert to electing a county recorder by adopting a resolution.  This may only be done after the office is appointive for three years.  The county board must publish a proposed resolution notifying the public of its intent to consider the issue. There must be public notice, via publication, and there must be a public hearing on the issue before a resolution may be adopted.  The resolution must be approved by at least 60 percent of the members of the county board and is effective on August 1, following adoption of the resolution.  The question of returning the office to an elected office must be placed on the ballot at the next general election if a petition is signed by at least ten percent of the registered voters of the county and is filed with the county auditor-treasure by August 1 of the year in which the general election is held. The petition must also meet the requirements listed in the subdivision. If a majority of the voters of the county voting on the question vote in favor of making the office elected, the election of county recorder must be held at the next regular or special election.

Effective date: this section is effective the day after the Stearns County Board of Commissioners and its chief clerical officer files a certificate of approval, including a copy of the resolution of approval, with the secretary of the state. This requirement and other requirements outlined at Minnesota Statutes, section 645.021, subdivisions 2 and 3, must be completed before the first day of the next regular session of the legislature.


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