Public Law Newsletter | Winter 2016 | Volume XXVI | Issue 1

by Jennifer Carter | Apr 01, 2016


By Patricia Beety, League of Minnesota Cities 

Peterson v. Richfield Civ. Serv. Comm’n, 864 N.W.2d 340 (Minn. 2015).

The Minnesota Supreme Court unanimously held that a candidate’s interview responses for an internal promotion did not meet the “records” requirement of Minn. Stat. § 419.06.  The supreme court reversed the court of appeals which held that “nothing in the broad concept of ‘records’ mandates a writing.”   While the court of appeals found oral accounts by candidates regarding their background, experience, and character sufficient, the supreme court disagreed and reasoned that a candidate’s oral statements could not be construed as records because they are not “kept in the regular course of the administration of a civil service system.” 

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By Beverly Jones Heydinger, MSBA Admin. Law Section Council Chair


In October 2015, the MSBA Administrative Law Section presented a CLE entitled “Increasing Access to Justice at the Office of Administrative Hearings” to highlight the need for more pro bono assistance in matters heard by OAH and to further the Section’s interest in providing counsel to low income people who face the loss of their livelihood and ability to meet their most basic needs.  Approximately 60 percent of the contested case hearings at OAH involve self-represented litigants.  

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By Dave Goslee, Rochester City Attorney’s Office

The Minnesota Association of City Attorneys Education Conference was held February 5-6, 2016 at the Sheraton Bloomington.  This year’s informative sessions included presentations on public employment issues, nuisance abatement/special assessments, drone regulation, data practices, sign regulation, ethics, and public service.  

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ABA Update

By Greg Brooker

ABA Government & Public Sector Lawyers Division (GPSLD).  In 2015-16, the GPSLD sponsored relatively inexpensive CLE webinars on a wide range of topics, including: Ethical and Effective Use of Social Media, Deposition Skills Training for Government Lawyers, and Ethical Considerations in Public Sector Law.  In addition, the GPSLD sponsored over 25 law school panels on the public practice of law by government lawyers at law schools throughout the country.  In addition, the GPSLD voted on several resolutions presented to the ABA House of Delegates.

ABA Resolutions Enacted.  At the ABA Mid-Year Meeting in San Diego in February, the ABA House of Delegates approved a wide range of resolutions, including:

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PLS Public Service Projects  

 Public Law Image       Public Law Image

Loaves & Fishes



With the return of the cooler weather, twelve volunteers cooked up the PLS’s famous Tator Tot Hotdish for the approximately 200-250 adults and children who came to the Loaves and Fishes program located in the basement of Holy Rosary church in South Minneapolis on 10/7/15.  Thank you to volunteers Greg Brooker, Nancy Gove, Laura Booth, Beth Gloppen, Ginny Hinzman, Tom Kalitowski, Steve Fouts, Cindy Atsatt, Greg Maus, Nancy McLean and Kim Mesun.  Also thank you for financial and food donations from Nancy Gove, Nancy McLean, Margaret Olson, and Kim Mesun.  The PLS funds approximately $300 of the cost of the food for the meal and the rest is paid for through individual donations.  The PLS volunteers (and friends) cook the meal and do set up.  Then the University of Wisconsin – Madison alumni come in to serve and clean up.  They also bring in fresh fruit for the meal.



Eleven volunteers were on hand to cook up the meal for the 12/2/15 Loaves & Fishes meal. Thank you to food prep volunteers Nancy Gove, Beth Gloppen, Nancy Norman and son Josh, Nancy McLean, Margaret Olson, Emily Schnaidt, Tom Kalitowski, Ginny Hinzman, Kim Mesun and Richard.  Also thank you for the financial and food donations from Cindy Atsatt, Steve Fouts, Greg Brooker, Booth Law Group, Nancy Norman and Kim Mesun.



Nine volunteers again prepared the Minnesota staple, Tator Tot Hotdish for the 2/2/16 Loaves & Fishes meal.  Thank you to food prep volunteers Nancy McLean, Greg Brooker, Beth Gloppen, Laura Booth, Nancy Gove, Nancy Norman, Margaret Olson, Ginny Hinzman, and Kim Mesun.  Also thank you for the financial and food donations from Katie Engler, Beth Gloppen, Nancy Gove, Ginny Hinzman, Nancy Norman, and Kim Mesun.


PLS volunteers meet on the first Wednesday of even-numbered months to prepare the meal at Loaves and Fishes in the basement of Holy Rosary church in South Minneapolis.  The next meal prepared will be on Wed. April 6 starting at 3:00.  If you would like to volunteer, contact Kim Mesun at


Public Law Photo Public Law Image      



The PLS & Friends crew at the October Loaves & Fishes: Cindy Atsatt, Greg Maus, 
Laura Booth, Kim Mesun, Beth Gloppen, Tom Kalitowski, Ginny Hinzman, Steve Fouts and Greg Brooker.


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News from the Bench

There are several updates.

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Notice of solicitation of nominations for election of section officers and council members 

The MSBA Public Law Section is seeking nominations for positions on the 2016-17 Council, including the four officer positions.  The election will be held at the Section’s Annual Meeting on Friday, June 3, 2016, at the Section Luncheon.  Please submit your statement of interest to Jennifer Carter at by April 4, 2016. 

Nominating Committee:

Lynn Belgea, Chair

Department of Administration
Advisory Opinions Index

This index uses the Department of Administration’s opinion numbers, dates of opinion, government entity involved and opinion requester.  We add a brief topic description.  Text of the 2015 opinions is available on line at .


No. of Opinion

Date of Opinion

Gov’t Entity Involved


Opinion Requester






MN Film & TV Board


Open Meeting Law: Minn. Stat. section 13D.01

Determination whether a private corporation that receives state funding is a body subject to the Open Meeting Law


MN Film & TV Board, Winter






ISD #535 (Rochester)


Data Practices Act: Minn. Stat. section 13.43

Interaction of section 13.43 and the Teacher Tenure Act, Minn. Stat. section 122A.41, subd. 6(c), as to the obligation of the District to disclose disciplinary or child maltreatment information to another district where a current or former District employee is seeking employment, unless restricted by a “state data practices law”


ISD #535, Waldspurger & Edison






City of Hastings


Data Practices Act: Minn. Stat. sections 13.02 & 13.43

Definition of government data; classification of data in a draft investigation report related to a complaint against a local public official where the local public official resigned while the complaint was pending


City of Hastings, Skelton







Washington County


Data Practices Act: Minn. Stat. sections 13.39 & 13.44

Classification of data in a real estate appraisal that was submitted to a condemnation commissioner in an eminent domain proceeding, but is now part of a separate but related pending civil legal action as determined by the chief attorney acting for the County


Washington County, Hodsdon



Prepared by Lynn Belgea

Annual Report

MSBA Public Law Section
Annual Report


Section Membership

As of June 22, 2020 the Section has 450 members.

Financial Status

The Section had an account balance of $9,386.58 as of May 31, 2020.

CLEs & Events

The Section hosted 7 events in fiscal year 2019-20. 

Program Title


Event Code

CLE Credits

Number of Attendees

MSBA Public Law Data Practices Retreat




2.0 Standard

1.0 Elimination of Bias


Mindfulness – Living a Lower Maintenance Life



1.0 Standard


Anatomy of an Ethics Complaint



1.0 Ethics


Public Service Loan Forgiveness – Where We Are, How We Got Here, and Where We May Be Heading



1.0 Standard


Help for Attorneys in Crisis – Dealing with Lawyer Addiction and Impairment



1.0 Elimination of Bias


Contract Checkup – Diagnosing Problems in State and Municipal Contracts



1.0 Standard


Public Law Section Elections and Q&A





Annual Meeting and Election Results

The Section’s Annual Meeting was held on June 12 and 19 people attended. 

The following new council members were elected to serve on the Section’s Governing Council from 7/1/2020 to 6/30/2022:

• Sarah McGee, Minnesota State Colleges & Universities
• Kathryn Iverson Landrum, Minnesota Attorney General's Office
• Lisa Godon, Hennepin County Attorney’s Office

The following council member was re-elected to serve on the Section’s Governing Council from 7/1/2020 to 6/30/2022:

• Meg Jacot, Metropolitan Council of the Twin Cities

The following council member will serve as an ex officio member of the judiciary on the Section’s Governing Council from 7/1/2020 to 6/30/2021:

• The Honorable Tracy Smith, Minnesota Court of Appeals 

The following council members will continue to serve on the Section’s Governing Council from 7/1/2020 to 6/30/2021:

• Andrew Wold, Minnesota Office of Higher Education 
• Amber Eisenschenk, League of Minnesota Cities 
• Craig Gustafson, Minnesota Department of Transportation 
• Nancy Norman Sommer, Anoka County Attorney's Office

The following officers were elected to serve on the Section’s Governing Council from 7/1/2020 to 6/30/2021:

• Co-Chair: Justin Kwong, Minnesota Department of Health 
• Co-Chair: Kate Swenson, Greene Espel, PLLP
• Treasurer: Cathy Miller, Rice County Attorney’s Office    
• Secretary: Ethan Landy, Minnesota Department of Labor & Industry

The following law students will serve on the Section's Governing Council from 7/1/2020 to 6/30/2020:
• Ivy Marsnik, University of Minnesota Law School 
• Cyle Cramer, Mitchell Hamline School of Law 

Diversity and Inclusion
What diversity and inclusion goals did the Section include in the 2019-2020 work plan, how did you approach these goals, and what was the result?

  • The Section completed a Diversity & Inclusion plan in the 2017-2018 year, and the Section referenced this plan as it conducted its 2019-20 business. The Section completed its goal of hosting a CLE in Greater Minnesota when it held its Data Practices Retreat in Baxter, MN. 
  • The Section continued to fill law student representative positions on the Council to ensure there is representation from all three law schools. 
  • The Section provided remote access to most CLEs to provide access to public law attorneys throughout Minnesota. 
  • The Section cultivated COVID-19 resources and made them easily accessible via the Section website. 

Other Section Accomplishments

  • The Section donated funds to the MSBA New Lawyers Leadership Conference ($100), Minnesota Justice Foundation ($250), and Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers ($50). 

Submitted By:
Amelia Jadoo and Justin Kwong, Section Co-Chairs
Date July 8th, 2020