Minnesota Cities Magazine
More from Nov-Dec 2016 issue

Ask LMC: How Will the New Body Cam Law Affect Our City?

Body camera on a police officerPublic Safety
Q: Our council budgeted last year to purchase body cameras for our police department. We are just about to buy and deploy them. How will the new law on body cameras affect us?
LMC: The new law passed by the 2016 Legislature went into effect on Aug. 1, 2016. As a result, even though you budgeted for the cameras prior to that, your recent purchase makes you subject to the new law. Under the new law, you must seek public input—minimally allowing for electronic or mailed comments. And the city council must also provide an opportunity for public comment at a regularly scheduled meeting. In addition, you must adopt a written policy governing the use of the cameras before deployment. The League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust recently updated its model policy on body-worn cameras to reflect the new law. The model policy is available at www.lmc.org/bodycampolicy.

Sale of Property
Q: When a city sells land, does it need to use competitive bidding? Also, can the city sell land to one of its councilmembers?
LMC: Bids are not required for the sale of land. However, the city should be diligent about getting a good price for the land sold. Cities may only give land away (or sell land for a nominal amount) in very limited circumstances. For more information about this topic, see page 15 of the LMC information memo at www.lmc.org/realproperty.

As for the question about selling land to one of your city councilmembers, the answer is no. The Minnesota attorney general has concluded that cities may not contract to purchase land from or sell land to their city councilmembers. For more information, see page 15 of the LMC information memo at www.lmc.org/conflict.

City Types
Q: How many charter cities and how many statutory cities are there in Minnesota?
LMC: Minnesota currently has 107 home rule charter cities, commonly referred to as “charter cities.” In these types of cities, the resident voters adopt a local charter, and the city can exercise any powers in its adopted charter as long as they do not conflict with state laws. Conversely, charter provisions can specifically restrict the powers of a city. As a result, voters in home rule charter cities have more control over their city’s powers.

The other 746 Minnesota cities are statutory cities. There are three types of statutory city:

  • Standard Plan. This is a city with three or five councilmembers and a mayor, as well as an elected clerk who sits on the council. There is also an elected treasurer who does not sit on the council. The clerk and treasurer positions may be combined into one elected position. Minnesota has 96 Standard Plan statutory cities.
  • Statutory Optional Plan A (SC-A). This is a city with four or six councilmembers and a mayor. The clerk and treasurer are appointed positions. Minnesota has 632 SC-A cities.
  • Statutory Optional Plan B (SC-B). This is a city with four or six councilmembers and a mayor. All policy and legislative decisions are the responsibility of the council. The council delegates the administrative duties to an appointed city manager. A city must have a population of at least 1,000 to use this form of organization. Minnesota has only 18 SC-B cities. To request a lists of Minnesota cities by type, contact Rachel Walker, LMC policy analysis manager, at rwalker@lmc.org.

Human Resources
Binders with the labels Q: I’ve heard that full-time employees will need to earn about $47,000/year to be considered exempt from federal overtime requirements starting in December 2016. What about part-time employees—how much do they need to earn?

UPDATE: Please review information in the Cities Bulletin about court action affecting these federal rules.

LMC: Part-time employees must meet the same requirements as full-time employees to be considered exempt, including the requirement to be paid at least $455/week. This amount increases to $913/week ($47,476/ year) effective Dec. 1, 2016. There are other requirements that need to be met as well, associated with both the duties performed by the employee and how the salary is paid out each week. For more information, see the LMC information memo at www.lmc.org/flsaexempt. Got questions for LMC? Send your questions to choffacker@lmc.org.

Read the Nov-Dec issue of Minnesota Cities magazine

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