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Joint Powers Agreement

Joint powers agreements are contracts with other “governmental units” which is defined in Minn. Stat. § 471.59, subd.1 and includes every:
  1. City
  2. County
  3. Town
  4. School district
  5. Independent nonprofit firefighting corporation
  6. Other political subdivisions of this or another state
  7. Another state
  8. Federally recognized Indian Tribe
  9. The University of Minnesota
  10. The Minnesota Historical Society
  11. Nonprofit hospitals licensed under Minn. Stat. § 144.50 to 144.56
  12. Rehabilitation facilities and extended employment providers certified by DEED
  13. Day and supported employment services licensed under Minnesota Statutes Chapter 245D
  14. Agency of the State of Minnesota (including MnSCU) or the United States
  15. Any instrumentality of a governmental unit.  An instrumentality of a governmental unit means an instrumentality having independent policy-making and appropriations authority.
A Certification Form MUST BE submitted and approved before proceeding with a joint powers agreement that exceeds $25,000. A primary purpose of the certification is to document your efforts to ensure that there are no state employees who could perform the services required and to document your efforts to make all governmental entities who might potentially respond aware of your need for a service or to accomplish a task. If there is only one governmental entity that can legally provide the service or perform the task, there is no need to make an effort to consider other governmental entities' responses -- just make that clear on the Certification Form. This is a judgment call on the part of the agency and should be considered carefully.

The template documents needed for a Joint Powers Agreement include: 


Pre-Contract Process

  • Develop Scope of Work and Deliverables
  • Select the Governmental Unit(s) you will work with
  • Send Scope of Work and Deliverables to selected Governmental Unit(s)
  • If the project exceeds $25,000, submit a Certification form to OSP for review and approval BEFORE proceeding to a contract

Negotiation and Contract Drafting

  • Determine negotiation approach, prepare, and conduct negotiations
  • Draft contract using the Joint Powers Agreement template
  • Send draft contract to Governmental Unit for review
  • Send draft contract to Agency Contract Coordinator for review
  • Send draft contract to Attorney General’s Office for review and comment if negotiations altered the Intellectual Property clause 
  • Encumber funds and fill in SWIFT block on the contract form

Contract Execution

  • Complete 16A/16C Reporting Form regardless of whether work has started or not:
  • Fill Box I if no work has started
  • Fill Box II if work started before funds were encumbered
  • Fill box III if work started before the contract was fully executed (signed by all parties, including the Department of Administration)
  • Route contract for signatures in the following order: Encumbrance, Governmental Unit, Agency, Department of Administration
  • Include supporting documents with the contract when routing to the Department of Administration, such as: Certification form, 16A/16C Reporting Form, Insurance Adjustment Form, etc.
  • Review signatures for legality, completeness, and accuracy
  • Distribute executed copies to: Governmental Unit, Agency, and Project Manager
  • Send written authorization to Governmental Unit that work may begin

Contract Work Completion 

If the final product of the contract is a written report, send a copy of the report to the Legislative Reference Library
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