Back to the Nov-Dec 2019 issue

Is the City Required to Designate Polling Places Every Year?


Q: Are we required to annually designate our polling place for the next year, even if it’s been the same location for many years?

LMC: Yes. Minnesota Statues, section 204B.16 requires cities to pass an ordinance or resolution that designates polling places every year by Dec. 31. This applies even if the location is the same as the year before. The polling places designated in the ordinance or resolution are for the next calendar year, unless a change is made for one of the following reasons: (1) because of an emergency, meaning any situation that prevents the safe, secure, and full operation of a polling place; or (2) because a polling place has become unavailable.

Answered by Research Attorney Aisia Davis:

Workplace Safety

Q: I am the city clerk in a very small city. I know there are requirements for cities to have a safety committee, but since we are so small, do we have to comply with this?

LMC: State law requires all employers with more than 25 employees to establish a joint labor-management safety and health committee for their workplace. People in small municipal operations might think this automatically excludes their city/entity from the requirement. However, when counting employees, you must include all the volunteer firefighters, police volunteers, and other volunteers that are considered city employees for purposes of workers’ compensation benefits. That factor often means smaller Minnesota cities reach the threshold and, therefore, need to create a safety committee.

One option for small cities to consider is to work with neighboring cities and the League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust to create a Regional Safety Group.

Answered by Loss Control Manager Rachel Carlson:


Q: We have an open position in our city, and we need some guidance for our upcoming interview process. What questions should we avoid asking during an employment interview?

LMC: As a general rule, any questions related to the applicant’s personal life or any protected status (race, sex, disability, sexual orientation, marital status, etc.) should not be asked.

While directly inquiring about disabilities is prohibited under state and federal laws, the city can supply the interview candidates with a copy of the job description and ask them if they are able to perform the essential functions of the position. In addition, workers’ compensation law prohibits the city from asking about prior workers’ compensation injuries. Interview questions should relate to past work experience, skills, and abilities required for the job, and education and training related to the job. They should also be consistent from candidate to candidate.

Answered by Human Resources Director Laura Kushner: