Minnesota Secretary Of State - Definitions
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Boards and commissions are groups of people usually defined by legislation to assist legislators in making decisions or regulate an industry.


A "position" is an umbrella term used to describe a group of seats available on a board or commission. Often the group has similar requirements, for example a board may need four doctors, in which case the position would be called "doctor" and the seats might be called "doctor #1, doctor #2, doctor #3, doctor #4". 

When you apply, you apply for a position and are automatically considered for any seat within that position that is currently available. Not all seats are appointed by the same appointing authority. A single position can have seats appointed by more than one appointing authority.

Open Appointment/Open Position

An "open appointment" or "open position" (also called "vacancies") refer to any position on a board or commission that is in need of a new member. This may be because the person who has held that position has stepped down, or their term may have ended, or, the position is on a new board or commission. 

You can apply for any "open position" using the Boards & Commission website by see which positions are open.


A "term" refers to the amount of time a person spends as a member of a board or commission. Typically terms are 2 years.


The "status" of a seat is referring to how close that seat is to nearing the member's end of term, or if it is open, if an appointment has been made yet.

Publish Date

The "publish date" of an open appointment/position refers to when the open position became available to the public for application. Open positions are published every month on the first Monday of the month. No appointment can be made until 30 days after the publish date.

Appointing Authority

The appointing authority is the person that is responsible for deciding who is appointed to a seat. Usually this is a role, such as the Governor, Senate Majority Leader, Commissioner of Commerce, etc. not a specific individual. There are 50+ current appointing authorities. By going to the Appointing Authority page you can see a list of all appointing authorities, and, by clicking their title, you can see the people they appointed.

Supporting Entity

Many boards and commissions are too small or meet too irregularly to have their own staff. In such cases there is a governmental agency that supports the board in the appointment process. These are called "Supporting Entities"

Enabling Legislation

Most boards and commissions are established by a legislative act. You can find more information about the legislation that initiated the board or commission by reading the statute that enabled the board or commission.