Contact & About Information
The Civil Division of the Olmsted County Attorney's office handles a variety of matters on behalf of the departments of Olmsted County. These matters vary from preparing agendas and requests for action at upcoming Olmsted County Board of Commissioner's meetings to protecting vulnerable adults from being victimized due to their mental and physical heath.
Civil Division Roles and Responsibilities
Civil division attorneys provide legal advice to all county officials and County Administration. An attorney reviews the County Board agenda and attends the Board meeting to ensure compliance with all legal requirements.
The Civil Division manages or defends lawsuits against the County that are not covered by insurance, such as planning and zoning matters, personnel issues, and real estate tax appeals.
Olmsted County Public Health
The Civil Division assists the Public Health Department in the enforcement of public health statutes and ordinances. These matters involve restaurants, swimming pools, mobile home parks, motels, septic system violations, and sales of tobacco to minors by retailers. Perhaps most important to public safety is the prosecution of public nuisance and hazardous waste violations.
Olmsted County Public Works
The Civil Division provides counsel to the County Public Works Department when legal issues arise over county road right of ways, bridges, dams, waste management facilities, parks, and other public infrastructure.
Rochester - Olmsted Planning Department
The Civil Division provides legal advice to the Rochester - Olmsted Planning Department on all land use matters including land use planning and the drafting, adoption, and enforcement of the Olmsted County land development ordinances. The Civil Division attorneys attend public meetings and hearings of the Planning Advisory Commission and the Board of Adjustment and Appeals.
Property Records and Licensing
The Civil Division furnishes legal counsel to the Property Records and Licensing Department when issues arise concerning the recording of documents, liquor licensing, vital records, and elections. This also includes appeals regarding real estate taxes. Each year property tax owners in Olmsted County file petitions for reclassification, exemption, or reduced assessed values. Most of these cases are settled. However, some cases may require a trial before the Minnesota Tax Court. These cases may include a residential homestead (whether the property owner qualifies for homestead status) or may challenge the assessed value of their home. They also include challenges to the valuation of commercial properties in the County.
Olmsted County Community Services
The Civil Division advises the Community Services Department on matters involving adult and child protection, mental health, guardianships and conservatorships, and administration of various types of public assistance. The Civil Division prosecutes Child in need of Protection or Services (CHIPS) cases; Termination of Parental Rights (TPR) cases; guardianship and conservatorship cases; Civil Commitment matters involving persons who are Mentally Ill, Chemically Dependent; Developmentally Disabled, Mentally Ill and Dangerous; Sexually Dangerous or persons with a Sexually Psychopathic Personality; representation on Administrative Licensing suspension or revocation appeals; and appeals of those substantiated as having maltreated a vulnerable adult or a child.
Olmsted County Sheriff’s Office
The Civil Division also provides legal counsel to the Olmsted County Sheriff's Department concerning their service of process duties as well as to the County Homeland Security Department when emergency management legal issues arise.
The Civil Division prepares or reviews hundreds of contracts and agreements annually between the County and contractors, service providers, vendors or other government agencies doing business with the County. Civil Division attorneys also review and help prepare bid specifications for many County purchases and projects.
Minnesota Government Data Practices Act
The Civil Division continues to take a leadership role in providing training to all new County employees concerning the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act which ensures that information collected by the County on private citizens is not released unless authorized by law. We also provide legal advice to all county departments concerning the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act so as to ensure compliance with the Act. The Civil Division also provides legal advice to the County Human Resources Department as needed on personnel issues.
Finally, the Civil Division provides legal advice to a number of separate entities which are related to the County such as the Olmsted County Building Authority, the Olmsted County Regional Railroad Authority, and a variety of joint powers boards working with other public entities across all departments.