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Effective Jan. 1, 2015, a city will receive a sanction if a state audit finds it is not complying with minimum requirements for conducting local background checks.
(Published Jan 14, 2013)
State auditors have found that some cities and counties are not meeting requirements for conducting criminal background checks for employment and licensing. The state is giving two years to allow organizations time to comply with the requirements.
Since 2008, law enforcement agencies have been permitted to conduct Minnesota criminal history background checks for employment and licensing purposes if an ordinance had been enacted requiring that the background check be conducted.
The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) worked with the League of Minnesota Cities (LMC) to identify specific requirements for an ordinance authorizing the checks. The League then created a Model Background Check Ordinance.
However, Minnesota Justice Information Services (MNJIS) auditors conducting triennial audits are continuing to find cities and counties conducting criminal history background checks by authority of a resolution rather than an ordinance or whose ordinance does not meet the agreed on requirements.
Effective Jan. 1, 2015, a city or county using a resolution as the basis for a local background check or whose ordinance does not meet the minimum requirements established with the League will receive a sanction as part of the audit process. This includes the requirement to stop running local checks until an acceptable ordinance is in place. MNJIS is providing advance notice of this change to give cities and counties wishing to convert from a resolution to an ordinance or needing to update an ordinance ample time to do so.
If you run local checks based on a resolution
While both resolutions and ordinances have the same legal effect, ordinances must be published—providing public notice of its existence—while resolutions are kept as meeting minutes. Because of this and other issues, MNJIS management in 2012 determined that the BCA will only accept ordinances as the basis for Minnesota criminal history checks. This will ensure the public has notice when a criminal history check will be required.
If you run local checks based on an ordinance
In addition to finding resolution-based checks, MNJIS auditors have found ordinances that do not meet the minimum requirements established with LMC. Ordinances that do not meet the minimum requirements by Jan. 1, 2015, will also result in an audit sanction.
MNJIS is available to do an informal review of proposed ordinances. This informal review will be conducted using the LMC requirements as the standard. A checklist has been created to notify a city or county submitting a draft ordinance of potential problems so that they can be corrected prior to enactment and publication.
For questions about this change, contact the MNJIS Trainer/Auditor assigned to your agency. For questions about ordinance content, contact the League’s Human Resources staff (see right).
Contact Human Resources staff
(651) 281-1200 or (800) 925-1122