Minnesota Department of Transportation

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MnDOT Policies

Agency Policy Manual

Revision Date: December 12, 2023

Print Manual (pdf)


Policy and Administrative Rule Coordinator

Andi Barker

Technical Memo Coordinator

Nancy Yoo


MnDOT is committed to excellence in policy administration by:

  • maintaining the timeliness and accuracy of policies;
  • ensuring stakeholder input in policy development and review;
  • ensuring accessibility and usability;
  • using a standardized template and process to ensure consistency and transparency; and
  • using plain language.

As part of the agency’s internal control system, policy helps minimize risk by defining standards, roles, and responsibilities, and providing clear department leadership expectations. MnDOT’s policy development and management program considers input from a broad range of stakeholders to develop, implement, and manage policies that support operational excellence.

Employees must notify and work with the Policy Coordinator when the need for a new policy, a revision, or retirement of an existing policy is identified.

About this Manual

This manual provides a clear, transparent, and standardized process for developing and managing agency policies. It describes internal duties and responsibilities related to the lifecycle of policy governance from intake to development, review, approval, publication, maintenance, and finally, retirement.

The Manual is co-owned by the Chief Counsel and the Governance Committee. The Policy Coordinator and Governance Committee Chairperson coordinate review of the Manual every two years, or sooner as necessary, to ensure the Manual remains up to date. Revisions to the Manual may be approved by the Governance Committee through a consent agenda as needed.

About Policies

What is a policy?

A formal declaration of an organization’s principles and expectations. Policies are mandatory, broad, comprehensive, and backed by laws, regulations, statutes, Executive Branch agency policies, or other governing authority.

When is a policy developed?

Policies are developed:

  1. when required by law or another Executive Branch agency policy; or
  2. to set expectations, establish internal controls, and/or to mitigate risk. Policy directives must be long-term and department-wide or across several divisions.

Note: Policies are developed for MnDOT’s internal management. Regulation that directly affects the rights of or procedures available to the public is addressed through the administrative rulemaking process.

Policy Categories and Numbering

There are five policy categories:

  • Administrative (AD) policies – establish the framework for policy development and management and describe MnDOT’s position on overarching business issues
  • Data Management (DM) policies – the business function of planning for, controlling, and delivering data management and information needs
  • Financial Management (FM) policies – ensure the management and safeguarding of MnDOT’s financial assets and resources
  • Workforce (WF) policies – set expectations for the workforce to safeguard MnDOT’s workplace and to protect employees and others
  • Operations and Engineering (OE) policies – broad, long-term, and describe MnDOT’s position on technical matters not otherwise covered by a Technical Memo or other guidance

Policy Template

Policies are standardized and contain the following content:

Policy Category

Policies are categorized as Administration, Data Management, Financial Management, Workforce, or Operations and Engineering.

Policy Title

Identifies the purpose of the policy. Must be concise and “searchable” for all users and the name must succinctly identify the topic.

Policy Number

Policies are numbered by category and in the order they are created, for example, AD001, AD002, AD003, FM001, FM002.

Effective Date or Revised Date (in header)

The date the policy is signed by the Responsible Senior Officer (Deputy Commissioner). This is the last signature on the document.

Policy Owner

The MnDOT senior leader (Office Director, District Engineer, or higher) most closely related to the subject matter of the policy, such as Director of Communications and Public Engagement or Director of Land Management. There may be more than one Policy Owner if certain criteria are met. See "Determining Policy Ownership" section below.

Policy Contact

The subject matter expert for the policy. There may be more than one policy contact.

Policy Statement

Identifies what the policy requires and who must comply with it. Sets the scope, agency commitment, and expectation.

Reason for Policy

The legal, regulatory, or business rationale for the policy. Ensures compliance with law and regulations.


All MnDOT employees must comply with MnDOT policies. Some contractors, consultants, suppliers, and other third parties who are engaging in MnDOT business may be required by contract to comply with MnDOT policies. This section also includes a list of the key stakeholders responsible for successful development, implementation, operation, compliance, and maintenance of the policy.


Formal statements of the meaning or significance of a word or phrase contained elsewhere in the policy. Definitions enhance clarity of meaning and accurate interpretation. May also include a note or comment following the definition giving additional context related to the policy. All new definitions must be added to the Business Data Catalog (BDC) before adoption. Contact the BDC Coordinator to add new definitions or update old ones.


List of the obligations for the key stakeholders for the successful development, implementation, and required review of the policy. Describes the "what" but not the "how" of the responsibility. Includes the standard responsibilities of the Policy Owner.

Resources and Related Information

Additional references that will aid in the understanding and compliance of the policy. These may include forms, procedures, manuals, statutes, rules, etc. and are linked at the end of the policy.

History and Updates

Identifies the date of initial adoption and captures dates of and reasons for substantive revisions.


Required signatures for policy implementation or revision.

  • Policy Owner(s)
  • Governance Committee Chairperson
  • Responsible Senior Officer(s) (Deputy Commissioner(s))
Policy Review

Documentation of policy reviews and the date of the next scheduled review. For example: Policy Owner signs to indicate that the policy was reviewed, the policy content is current, and no significant modifications are needed. Minor edits may be made to the policy during review and noted in this section.

Document Header

Contains the MnDOT logo, policy title, policy number, and effective date.

Document Footer

Contains the unique document number assigned in the eDOCs document repository, followed by the page number (x of x), and the policy title and number.


All policies (whether new, revised, or retired) must be archived permanently in eDOCs in accordance with the Records Retention Schedule.


Communications Plan

A plan to communicate the new policy or policy revisions to affected parties. Plans may include: Newsline article, iHUB updates, presentations, trainings, targeted emails, etc. Consult with Office of Communications and Public Engagement to develop a communications strategy prior to presenting the policy to Governance Committee for approval.

Education and Training Plan

A plan addressing the knowledge or skill gaps resulting from the policy. The plan should, at a minimum, address needs analysis, learning objectives, delivery methods, and tools that may be used to educate or train MnDOT employees. Tools may include live training/presentations, lunch and learns, e-learning, iHUB, email communications, etc.

Equity Lens

One of MnDOT’s core values is diversity and inclusion. MnDOT has adopted an Equity Lens Framework which requires an understanding that any decision within the agency can affect groups of people differently. The goal is to produce the most equitable outcome possible in each scenario. The policy development team must demonstrate how it applied the equity lens in developing the policy by providing answers to the equity lens questions to the Governance Committee. Answers should indicate that the team considered all the various groups of people that could be affected by the policy.


The way in which an agency is managed at the highest level and the system of rules, practices, and processes for doing this.

Types of governance at MnDOT include:

  • Best Practices

    Procedures that have been shown by research and experience to achieve effective results. They are established or proposed as a method suitable for widespread implementation.

  • Charter

    A founding document that defines the authority, roles and responsibilities, mission, composition, and standard protocols of an organization or ad hoc group.

  • Commissioner's Order

    An official act or determination of the Transportation Commissioner, Deputy Transportation Commissioner or other official under delegated authority.

  • Directive (Commissioner or Deputy Commissioner's Memo)

    An official mandate from MnDOT senior leadership that provides specific instructions to managers, employees, or another broad group.

  • Executive Order (Gubernatorial)

    A written statement executed by the governor pursuant to constitutional or statutory authority and denominated as an executive order. Executive orders have the force of law and agency leadership and staff must implement and remain in compliance with the executive order’s requirements. Agency policies inform the implementation of such requirements within a State agency.

  • Guidance

    A statement of recommended, but not mandatory, practice in typical situations. Guidance is issued to provide a preferred method of accomplishing a task or solving a problem.

  • Guidelines

    Recommended or suggested practices to promote consistent practice and decision-making. Guidelines may include “best practices” which offer criteria for consideration in decision-making but allow for exceptions.

  • Plan (Strategic Operating Plan, Statewide Multimodal Transportation Plan, etc., not Construction Plans)

    A detailed proposal for doing something or achieving a desired outcome. MnDOT plans may include operational goals, processes, or investment and resource priorities. 
    Note: Planning is an active way of discussing the goals, objectives, strategies, and tasks that we need to accomplish. Plans are the documentation of planning. Plans may be developed in alignment with or in consultation with other agencies and partners. Plans may require a formal public comment opportunity and formal approval or adoption. 

  • Policy

    A formal declaration of an organization’s principles and expectations. Policies are mandatory, broad and comprehensive, and backed by laws, regulations, statutes, Executive Branch agency policies, or other governing authority.

  • Procedure

    A step-by-step sequence of activities or course of action that leads to a result or expected outcome. Procedures often describe “who,” “what,” “when,” “where,” “why,” and “how” and serve as a consistent internal control mechanism required to mitigate risk.

    Note: Procedures, or steps in procedures, that are mandatory are identified as such or contain the word “shall” or “must.” Procedures, or steps in procedures, that are discretionary contain the word “may.”

  • Standard

    A statement of required, mandatory, or specifically prohibitive practice.

  • Technical Memorandum

    A document intended to expedite official changes in technical standards and procedures, to provide technical guidance, or to provide essential information until a technical manual, standard drawing (plates/plans),  or specification is officially issued or updated, or when the change is temporary.

    Tech memos are mandatory, very specific or narrow in focus, technical in nature, define standards, procedures, and guidance, and are created for a limited timeframe with an expiration date (see Tech Memo iHUB page for additional information).

Governance may be published on agency websites and/or in a:

  • Guidebook/Handbook

    A concise reference book covering a particular subject.

  • Manual

    A comprehensive reference document of instructions and supporting information that is updated on a regular basis.  Manuals communicate expectations, are established for both technical and non-technical areas, and are considered a repository for standards, guidelines, and procedures.
    Note: Some MnDOT manuals are required by FHWA.

Governance Committee

A MnDOT Committee responsible for agency policy review and approval and for upholding the internal control framework as it relates to policies and their effectiveness within the agency. The committee ensures policies:

  1. Align with MnDOT’s mission, vision, and Strategic Operating Plan
  2. Set expectations, establish internal controls, and/or mitigate risk
  3. Are consistent with federal and state laws and policies
  4. Include responsibilities for implementation
  5. Consider standards associated with data governance, data practices, technology, and engineering

Internal Controls

Activities, plans, attitudes, policies, and efforts of MnDOT staff working together to provide reasonable assurance that the agency’s strategic priorities are being met. Good internal controls encourage efficiency, comply with laws, regulations, and policies, and seek to eliminate fraud, waste, and abuse. See also: MMB Internal Control System Policy #0102-01 and the Standards for Internal Control in the Federal Government (Green Book).

Minor (Policy) Edit

A correction of error or a change to a MnDOT policy that is not substantive.

Plain Language

All policies are written in plain language. Plain language is communication your audience can understand the first time they read it or hear it.


  1. Reduces confusion
  2. Saves time and resources
  3. Improves customer satisfaction
  4. Enhances the value of services provided

Plain language techniques include understanding who the reader is, planning and organizing content and writing concisely and simply, which improves overall accessibility for all audiences.


A formal declaration of an organization’s guiding principles and expectations of employees.  Policies are mandatory, broad and encompassing, and backed by laws, regulations, statutes, or governing authority.

Policy Development Team

Work group responsible for collaboratively drafting policy content. Usually comprised of the Policy Contact and 2-8 additional stakeholders.

Substantive (Policy) Edit

Changes that alter the meaning or effect of a MnDOT policy.

Roles and Responsibilities

Decision-making and signature roles and responsibilities

Executive Leadership Team (ELT)
  • Set strategic direction for the agency, evaluate significant high-level agency risk, and make other decisions of importance on behalf of the Commissioner.
Senior Leadership Team (SLT)
  • Review proposals for new policies for awareness and input before policy development begins.
  • Ratify Governance Committee policy approvals through the consent agenda or through the standard agenda if the policy is removed from the consent agenda.
Responsible Senior Officer (Deputy Commissioner)
  • Approve and sign all policies.
  • The policy owner and subject matter of the policy determines which Deputy Commissioner signs the policy
    • Chief Administrative Officer – Administrative, Data Management, Financial, Workforce categories.
    • Chief Engineer - Operations and Engineering category and policies that are technical in nature.
    • If either Deputy is unavailable, the other may sign.
    • Only one deputy signature is required on most policies. Depending on the ownership or subject matter, some policies may require the signature of both Deputy Commissioners.
Governance Committee

The Governance Committee is subject to the requirements outlined in the approved charter including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Approving and enacting new policies and substantive updates to or retirements of existing policies.
  • Ensuring policies are developed in accordance with the Agency Policy Manual.

The Governance Committee chairperson:

  • Provides SLT with all policy decisions for ratification.
  • Signs all policy documents on behalf of the Committee.
Policy Owner
  • Provide executive leadership on policy development, implementation, related processes/procedures, and compliance.
  • Appoint a Policy Contact for the policy.
  • Consult with the Assistant Commissioner and/or Assistant Division Director within the chain of command for subject when a policy action is initiated.
  • Review the policy every two years, or sooner as necessary, to ensure the policy remains current.
  • Ensure procedures, processes, education, training, and other resources associated with the policy remain current.
  • Monitor state, federal, enterprise, agency, or other requirements that apply to the policy or procedures.
  • Consult with the Office of Chief Counsel to ensure the policy and procedures remain compliant with all state, federal, enterprise, agency, or other requirements.
  • Ensure that necessary approvals by state or federal agencies are obtained before changes to the policy or procedures are implemented.
  • Work with the Policy Coordinator to revise the policy and/or confirm its accuracy.
  • Communicate policy revisions, reviews, and retirements to stakeholders.
  • Sign the policy document.

Policy development, review process, and production roles

Assistant Commissioner, Chief Financial Officer, Chief Counsel, or Chief of Staff (Policy Sponsor)
  • Initiate or sponsor new policies to address risk, establish direction, or set expectations.
  • Policy Sponsor is required for all new and revisions of existing policies.
Office of Chief Counsel
  • Provide legal review and interpretation of policies.
  • Act as legal advisor to Governance Committee; review and advise Committee on policies.
Office of Tribal Affairs
  • Provide review and feedback on policies relating to topics of Tribal interests per Minn. Stat. § 10.65.
  • Build capacity for MnDOT coordination with Tribal Nations.
  • Act as advisor on topics of Tribal interests to Governance Committee.
Policy Coordinator (Office of Chief Counsel)
  • Oversee and manage the Agency Policy Program by providing leadership, analysis, design, and development of Agency Policy Program.
  • Receive and review requests for new policies, updates to existing policies, or policy retirements.
  • Work with Policy Owners to ensure accountability for the quality, accuracy, and timeliness of policy updates.
  • Coordinate flow of policy from inception to implementation.
  • Provide to the Governance Committee updates on the status of policies under development, review, or revision, including policies due for annual or biennial review.
  • Relay feedback and direction provided by the Governance Committee to the Policy Owner and/or policy workgroup.
  • Edit and publish policies, ensuring consistency of policies agencywide.
  • Maintain a standardized format and consistent classification of policies.
  • Confirm Assistant Commissioner/Chief sponsorship of new or revised policies.
  • Research laws, rules, and regulations related to existing policies for currency and accuracy.
  • Lead the policy development team to move policy drafts through the approval process.
  • Make and track non-substantive edits to policies and inform Governance Committee of changes.
  • Manage and maintain policies and policy resources by establishing and upholding a policy review cycle and by updating templates, procedures, and webpages.
  • Communicate additions or updates to policy definitions to the Business Data Catalog Coordinator.
  • Maintain policies in accordance with the MnDOT Records Retention Schedule.
  • Advise Policy Owners and assist in preparing policy presentations for Governance Committee.
Policy Sponsor
  • Sponsor new policies, initiate revisions to existing policies, and recommend retirement of policies.
Policy Contact
  • Serve as subject matter expert and first point of contact to answer questions about the policy.
  • Provide business-related expertise in drafting and review of policies.
Policy Development Team

The team is convened and led by the Policy Coordinator and Policy Owner or designee and consists of stakeholder representatives and business or technical experts. One or more members of the team – or the Policy Owner – presents the draft policy to Governance Committee for approval.

  • Conduct an equity analysis for each new or updated policy. Comment on draft policy and share expertise.
  • Seek stakeholder feedback on policy drafts, including legal review from the Office of Chief Counsel.
  • Submit completed drafts to Policy Coordinator.
  • Research laws, rules, and regulations related to existing policies for currency and accuracy.
Division Business Manager
  • Review policy drafts from an agency perspective and help identify potential budget and administrative impacts.
  • Read, understand, and follow MnDOT policies.

Policy Development

Questions to Consider when Determining the Appropriate Type of Governance

  • Is there a federal or state law or another Executive Branch agency policy that requires MnDOT to adopt a policy?
  • Who needs to know about the proposed governance (Employees only? The public? Contractors/consultants)? How will affected parties know it exists? Where would they logically go to find the information?
  • Is there existing governance on the subject matter, such as Statewide Policy, other MnDOT policy, MnDOT Technical Memo, manual, guideline, law, regulation, or rule?
  • Does the subject matter rise to the level of policy or is another form of governance sufficient?
  • Will the governance be used to set expectations, establish internal controls, and/or mitigate risk? Is a policy required to accomplish these objectives?
  • What risk are we trying to mitigate?
  • Consider impact on discretionary immunity. (Consult with the Office of Chief Counsel to determine whether MnDOT should use a particular level of governance to ensure MnDOT retains its discretionary immunity. Is a policy needed or can it be a lower level of governance?)
  • Is the governance intended to be long-term or temporary? (Note: policies must be long-term.)
  • Is the governance addressing a department-wide issue or is it limited to a specific office, district, or program area? (Note: policies must be department-wide or affect several divisions.)
  • Is there opportunity to consolidate various forms of governance?

Questions to Consider when Adopting a New Policy

  • What procedures, training, resources, and other internal controls are needed to accompany the policy?
  • Should the policy review cycle be one year rather than two? All policies must have a review cycle identified under the Policy Owner responsibilities in the “Responsibilities” section. The default review cycle is every two years. Consider whether the policy needs to be reviewed annually.

Questions to Consider when Revising Current Policies

  • Is the current policy in step with business practices, best practices, customer needs, or emerging trends?
  • Is the policy still needed? Should the policy be retired?
  • Is the existing form of governance appropriate? Consider whether another form a governance could accomplish the same objectives.

Enterprise Policies

All agencies are subject to enterprise policies and MnDOT follows those policies unless otherwise stated. MnDOT may adopt an agency-specific policy which may include additional restrictions or requirements to an enterprise policy but cannot make a policy that is less restrictive. When presenting a MnDOT-specific policy to the Governance Committee for approval, include the enterprise policy for reference and the rationale for adopting a MnDOT-specific policy. Rationale for adopting an agency-specific policy may include:

  • addition of restrictions;
  • assignment of responsibilities;
  • clarifications; or
  • the enterprise policy requires each agency to specifically adopt the policy.

MnDOT-specific policies must be updated when corresponding enterprise policies are updated.

Collective Bargaining Agreements and Compensation Plans

Always consult the Office of Human Resources – Labor Relations when drafting policies that relate to matters that are covered by a collective bargaining agreement or compensation plan for review of potential interactions. When presenting these policies to the Governance Committee for approval, provide the language from the collective bargaining agreement(s) or compensation plan(s).

Consultation with Tribal Governments

MnDOT must comply with Minnesota Statutes §10.65 mandating consultation and coordination at all levels in a timely and meaningful manner on all topics of Tribal implication. The Policy Coordinator works with the Office of Tribal Affairs to ensure policies impacting Tribal interests accurately reflect these requirements.

Definitions and Approval Requirements

  • New means the policy subject matter is not addressed in current policy and meets the criteria for creation of a policy. New policies require approval by the Governance Committee and the Senior Leadership Team (SLT) and are signed by the Policy Owner, Governance Committee Chairperson, and the Responsible Senior Officer(s).
  • Review means the Policy Owner verifies that the policy content, training, and resources related to the policy are current and do not require significant modifications. Minor edits to the policy may be made following review with Policy Owner approval. Review occurs according to the cycle identified in the policy.
  • Minor edit means non-substantive changes or correction of error. Minor edits are coordinated by the Policy Coordinator and Policy Owner. Corrections of hyperlinks or contact information are not an edit. All edited policies must retain a document history for reference consistent with the Records Retention Schedule. The Policy Owner approves minor edits, and the Policy Coordinator informs the Governance Committee.
  • Revise means the policy requires substantive content changes. Revisions require the approval and signature of the Policy Owner, the Governance Committee Chairperson, and the Responsible Senior Officer(s).
  • Retire means the policy is no longer needed. Retirement requires the approval and signature of the Policy Owner(s), Governance Committee Chairperson, and the Responsible Senior Officer(s).
  • Emergency means the policy is time sensitive and cannot follow the regular policy approval process. Whether a policy meets the definition of an “Emergency Policy” is determined by the Commissioner or a Deputy Commissioner. Policies originally enacted as emergency policies may also be revised or retired by the Deputy Commissioners without formal approval of Governance Committee and/or SLT.

All policies and revision history must be archived pursuant to the Records Retention Schedule.

Phase I – Initiate

To request a change to a policy or to propose a new policy, complete the online form on the MnDOT Governance webpage or contact the Policy Coordinator.

Depending on the request, follow the process to create a new policy or to revise or retire a current policy.

Create New Policy
  1. Policy Coordinator confers with the requester and potential Policy Owner (See "Determining Policy Ownership" section below) to determine:
    1. business need for the policy;
    2. who will be affected by the policy;
    3. opponents to the policy and possible controversies; and
    4. consequences to adopting or not creating a policy.
  2. When necessary, Policy Coordinator consults with the Tech Memo Coordinator and/or the Administrative Rule Coordinator to determine whether the correct form of governance is a policy, Tech Memo, administrative rule, or something else (see "Determining the Appropriate Type of Governance" section above)..
  3. If determined that a policy is the correct path, Policy Coordinator notifies the Governance Chair of policy development and adds to work plan.
Determining Policy Ownership

When determining the owner of the policy, consider the following:

  1. Policies must be owned by senior leaders (Office Director/District Engineer or higher).
  2. Which office or district is most closely related to the subject matter of the policy?
  3. Which office or district is positioned to best understand the risks and to have a succinct mitigation strategy to manage the risks that the policy is intended to address?
  4. Which office or district is responsible for the internal controls and oversight of the subject matter covered by the policy?
  5. Which office or district is positioned best to monitor compliance and enforce the provisions of the policy?
  6. Which office or district has the expertise required to provide the tools necessary for employees to comply with the policy (i.e., procedures, manuals, best practices, etc.)?
  7. Is there more than one office or district that has the expertise and oversight responsibility needed to stand up and manage the policy? Is collaboration between the two offices/districts needed? If so, consider whether the policy should be co-owned.

Note: Careful consideration should be given to co-ownership of policies. It is recommended that policies have no more than two owners because responsibilities are diluted with each additional owner. If a policy will be co-owned, ensure that the responsibilities for each office or district are clearly delineated in the responsibilities section. Others that have an interest or role in the policy but do not rise to the level of ownership may have responsibilities listed in the Responsibilities Section of the policy or within supporting materials such as procedures or manuals.

Revise Policy
  1. Policy Coordinator collaborates with the current Policy Owner to determine:
    1. business needs for revision;
    2. who will be affected by the change;
    3. possible opponents or controversies; and
    4. consequences of change.
  2. If determined that there is a need for change, the Policy Coordinator adds to work plan.
Retire Policy
  1. Policy Coordinator collaborates with the current Policy Owner to determine business need (or lack thereof) for the policy.
  2. Policy Coordinator consults with Office of Chief Counsel and subject-matter experts about potential policy retirement.
  3. Policy Coordinator and/or Policy Owner consults with SLT Sponsor about potential policy retirement.
  4. Policy Coordinator consults with Division Business Manager about potential policy retirement.
  5. If Policy Owner, Office of Chief Counsel, SLT Sponsor, DBM, and subject-matter experts concur that the policy should be retired, Policy Coordinator completes the Executive Briefing Tool and requests addition of the policy and any supporting documents to the Governance Committee agenda.
  6. If retirement is approved by the Governance Committee, the Policy Coordinator obtains signature approval by the Policy Owner(s), Governance Committee Chairperson, and the Responsible Senior Officer(s).
  7. Policy Owner reviews all published documentation to ensure information is retracted and disposed and/or retired to support the retirement of the policy.
  8. Policy Owner updates any training or other materials that reference the policy.
  9. Policy Coordinator archives retired policies consistent with the Records Retention Schedule.
  10. Policy Coordinator updates the MnDOT policy website and Policy Owner communicates retirement of policy.
Emergency Policy

Emergency policies are generally time-sensitive, enterprise policies issued by Minnesota Management and Budget that all agencies are required to follow (for example, COVID-19 pandemic-related policies).

  1. If possible, the initial approval of the policy should follow the Governance Committee approval processes. If the policy must be approved quickly, the policy may bypass the Governance Committee and be presented directly to SLT for approval. The determination to bypass the Governance Committee is made by the Commissioner or a Deputy Commissioner.
  2. If frequent changes are anticipated, language may be added to the Policy Statement stating that future revisions may be approved by the Commissioner or a Deputy Commissioner. Even if the Policy Statement does not include this language, the Commissioner or a Deputy Commissioner may unilaterally authorize emergency revisions and report the changes to SLT at its next meeting.
  3. When MMB retires or rescinds the enterprise policy, the Commissioner or a Deputy Commissioner may authorize retirement of the MnDOT policy and report the retirement to Governance Committee and SLT at its next meeting.

Phase II – Pre-development

This phase applies to policy revision and new policy development. The Policy Coordinator and Policy Owner (or designee) complete the tasks listed below.

Identify the policy scope

The policy scope must be clear and concise. Properly scoping a policy helps identify key risk elements, compliance requirements, expectations, procedures, and the audience for the policy.

Identify legal or regulatory matters

Consult with the Office of Chief Counsel and business/technical subject matter experts regarding legal or regulatory matters.

Identify related information, such as other forms of business governance

Identify other enterprise policies, MnDOT policies, Technical Memos and/or other types of governance related to the policy. The Policy Coordinator may collaborate with owners of related MnDOT policies and/or Tech Memos. Research other resources that may be useful to the policy development team, such as Transportation Research Board documents, similar policies at other Minnesota state agencies or other state departments of transportation. The Policy Coordinator synthesizes information for policy development work team.

Consult with Assistant Division Director (if applicable), SLT Sponsor for the policy (Assistant Commissioner/Chief), and Governance Committee Chair to confirm support for policy action

The Policy Owner is responsible for the content and accuracy of the policy and accountable for the operation of and compliance with the policy. The SLT Sponsor sets the tone for expectations for employees regarding the policy.

Present proposal to SLT

This step is required for new policies. The Policy Coordinator consults with the Governance Committee chairperson to provide background information for the policy topic. The Governance Committee chairperson serves as the SLT sponsor for the purpose of bringing the proposal to SLT. The Policy Owner’s SLT representative must support this moving forward as a proposed policy prior to the Governance Chair sponsoring the request at SLT. The Policy Coordinator, Policy Owner, or designee presents the policy proposal to SLT for awareness and input prior to beginning policy development.

Assemble a policy development work team
  1. Policy Owner recommends a policy contact, who is an agency subject matter expert that will provide expertise during policy development and will serve as the point of contact after policy approval.
  2. Identify team members with legal and technical content and process expertise at MnDOT. Do not only include immediate chain-of-command (think broadly). Limit team to approximately six to ten members.
  3. Invite team members, confirm participation, and prepare the work plan for policy development.
  4. Prepare for the kick-off team meeting with materials such as:
    1. Existing policies, Tech Memos, references to state/federal law, and external guidance (MMB/Admin/MNIT Statewide policies)
    2. Roles and responsibilities
    3. Explanation of the policy development and review process (policy phases)
    4. Review of policy template and use of plain language
    5. Reference materials or related information
  5. Establish an approximate timeline for policy development and Governance Committee presentation. The pace or meeting frequency depends on the subject matter, availability of team members, and the urgency for policy completion, for example, legislative requirement.

Phase III - Development

  1. Policy Work Team Identifies and engages key stakeholders. The policy program depends on:
    1. the professional expertise of its employees;
    2. inclusivity and multiple points of view; and
    3. transparency.
  2. Policy Coordinator facilitates meetings and tracks comments and changes to add content to the policy template. Members of the work team draft content and send the document to the Policy Coordinator.
    1. Policy Coordinator assembles draft content, edits, and recirculates the document to the team for the next team meeting. The Policy Coordinator evaluates and edits drafts to ensure:
      1. consistent style and voice in approved policy template;
      2. alignment with Business Data Catalog (BDC) definitions; and
      3. proper categorization, numbering, tracking, and archiving of MnDOT policies.
    2. Policy Coordinator ensures policies are drafted using plain language. Words and phrases to avoid include:
      1. Us, them, you, your, our, we
      2. Can, could, should, will, would, shall
      3. Since (use “because” instead)
      4. Help, better (i.e., “To help…” or “To better…”)
      5. “But not limited to”
      6. “In order to” (use “to” instead)
    3. Policy Coordinator contacts BDC Coordinator to add new definitions to the BDC and to coordinate existing definitions.
    4. Policy Coordinator ensures Equity Lens Framework is completed.
  3. Policy Owner provides feedback on the draft and revises the document as requested by the Policy Owner and the work team. The drafting process continues until there is a draft ready for stakeholder review that addresses the business matter, using plain language.

Phase IV – Legal, Stakeholder, and Leadership Review

Policy Coordinator facilitates completion of the Policy Approval Checklist and sets the review period for approximately two weeks (extend to accommodate holidays and seasonal vacation schedules). Legal, stakeholder, and leadership review may be conducted separately or in tandem.

Policy Coordinator distributes draft policy, supporting materials (procedures/manual, etc.), and Equity Lens for review and feedback to:

  • Stakeholders identified by the work team;
  • Office of Chief Counsel
  • Office of Tribal Affairs; and
  • Agency leadership
    • Policy Owner (typically the Office Director)
    • Division Business Manager (DBM)
    • SLT Sponsor
    • Governance Committee Chairperson

The Policy Coordinator also asks stakeholders to provide feedback on potential impacts to workforce or budget.

Policy Work Team Reviews Feedback
  1. Policy Coordinator assembles comments received and schedules a meeting with the policy work team to review feedback.
  2. Work team evaluates feedback and modifies the draft, as needed.
  3. Policy Coordinator prepares the final policy draft.
Final Review and Submittal
  1. Policy Coordinator prepares the policy request packet, which includes the Executive Briefing Tool, Approval Checklist, final policy draft, and other supporting documentation.
  2. Policy Coordinator informs the Governance Chairperson that the policy is ready for the Governance Committee agenda.

Phase V – Policy Review by the Governance Committee

Preparation for Governance Committee
  1. Presentation materials must be submitted by the agenda deadline for the scheduled Governance Committee meeting. Required materials include:
    1. Copy of the new or updated policy draft and tracked changes version, if applicable;
    2. Completed Executive Briefing Tool (EBT) summarizing the need for the policy or policy update and feedback received;
    3. Approval checklist including dates of review by legal, SLT Sponsor and DBM, a summary of the communications plans, and analysis showing application of the equity lens; and
    4. Supplementary documents, if applicable:
      1. Guidance/manual/procedures (Note: These documents must be completed before the policy is reviewed by Governance Committee to ensure that individuals are able to abide by the policy as soon as it is approved.)
      2. Risk assessment
      3. Other documents
  2. Governance Committee members are responsible for reviewing the materials, coming to the meetings prepared for discussion, and briefing division leadership about key points and outcomes.  
  3. Policy Coordinator assists Policy Owner in preparing presentation for Governance Committee.
Governance Committee Protocol
  1. Policy Owner and/or Policy Contact present the policy at the Committee meeting and respond to questions.
  2. The Committee chair entertains a brief discussion on the policy.
  3. The Committee chair calls for a vote on the policy. Policy approval requires a majority vote (see Governance Committee Charter for details).
  4. If policy is not approved, Governance Committee provides feedback and direction for next steps.

Phase VI – Policy Ratification by the Senior Leadership Team

Preparation for SLT
  1. Governance Committee Chairperson provides SLT with final, approved policy for inclusion on the SLT consent agenda.
  2. The consent agenda is approved in one action. Any member wishing to remove an item for further discussion prior to voting must notify the SLT Chairperson or Governance Chair ahead of the consent agenda action. If a policy is removed from the consent agenda, it will be added as a standard agenda item.
  3. Following consent agenda approval, the Policy Coordinator routes the policy for signatures.
SLT Presentations
  1. If a policy is included as a standard agenda item, the Governance Committee Chair will coordinate providing the materials for the SLT agenda. Policy sponsors/owners present the policy and address feedback. Presentation will include:
    1. Policy overview (background, overview of changes, business impacts/risks, equity lens)
    2. Background on Governance Committee discussions and recommendation for approval
  2. SLT members are responsible for fully reviewing policy materials in advance and coming to the meeting prepared for discussion.
  3. SLT considers the request and determines whether to approve the policy.
  4. If the policy is approved, the Policy Coordinator routes the policy for signatures. If the policy is not approved, SLT provides feedback and direction for next steps.

Phase VII - Signatures

The Policy Coordinator routes the policy for signatures by the Policy Owner(s), Governance Committee Chairperson, and Deputy Commissioner(s). The policy is effective when all signatures are obtained.

Note: In some cases, an effective date may be decided by the Governance Committee or SLT before the policy is routed for signature. In these situations, the effective date is added to the top of the policy document before it is routed rather than after the last signature is obtained. All signatures must be obtained before the agreed upon effective date.

Phase VIII – Policy Publication, Communication, and Implementation

Document publication
  • Policy Coordinator prepares the document for the MnDOT Policy Website. The website serves as the trusted source for policies and information about the Policy Program. All content must be accessible and meet requirements set forth by the Minnesota State Accessibility Standard.
  • Policy Coordinator contacts the Office of Communications and Public Engagement to update the front page of MnDOT’s iHUB intranet site to inform employees about policy activities.
  • Policy Owner or designee executes the communications strategy to stakeholders regarding approved policies.
  • Policy Owner or designee works with the Office of Human Resource’s Workforce Development Unit to update or develop and implement employee education and training.
Document preparation for storage
  • Policy Coordinator saves the signed policy in eDOCS, the official repository for policy records.

Phase IX – Maintain Policy for Quality Assurance and Continuous Improvement

Annual or Biennial Review (Dependent on policy)
  • Policy Coordinator manages the policy review cycle and works with the Policy Owner to ensure that timely review of existing policies is completed according to established timelines.
  • Policy Owner verifies the policy content is current and works with Policy Coordinator to make minor edits. The Policy Coordinator ensures that Governance Committee members and the policy’s SLT sponsor are provided the opportunity to review the policy and provide feedback about whether the policy needs substantive revisions. If substantive revisions are needed, the policy is added to the policy work list.
  • Policy Owner verifies that source information such as laws, rules, or other regulations are current.
  • If substantive revisions are not needed, Policy Owner signs the policy review section on the Authorization page and makes note of minor edits. New signatures are not required from the Governance Chair or Responsible Senior Officer.
  • Policy Coordinator reports that review was completed at next Governance Committee meeting (informational – no vote needed).
  • Policy Coordinator saves updated policy document in eDOCS.
Records Retention

Policy management must align with the Records Retention Schedule. The MnDOT Records Retention Schedule sets rules for how long to retain records and the proper disposal of the records at the end of their lifecycle. The MnDOT Records Policy identifies legal obligations and the responsibilities for MnDOT records retention and disposal.


Related Information

Policy Map


Visual representation of the policy process overview as outlined below

  1. Policy Coordinator receives policy request (new, revised, retire)
  2. Policy Coordinator determines whether a policy is appropriate (consults with Tech Memo Coordinator, Rule Coordinator, and/or Governance Chair)
    1. If no, Policy Coordinator refers requester to Tech Memo coordinator, Rule Coordinator, or other
    2. If yes, proceed to Policy Development Process
  3. Complete Policy Development Process
  4. Complete Governance Committee Review Process
  5. Governance Committee determines if policy requires SLT approval
    1. If no, Governance Committee determines whether to approve policy
      1. If yes, proceed to Policy Execution Process and publish policy
      2. If no, policy is rejected or Policy Owner/Development Team develop other document
      3. If contingent approval, return to Policy Development Process
    2. If yes, complete SLT Review Process
  6. SLT determines whether to approve policy
    1. If yes, proceed to Policy Execution Process and publish policy
    2. If no, policy is rejected or Policy Owner/Development Team develop other document
    3. If contingent approval, SLT determines whether policy needs to return to Governance Committee or SLT after changes
      1. If Governance, return to Governance Committee Review Process
      2. If SLT, return to SLT Review Process
      3. If neither, proceed to Policy Execution Process and publish policy
  7. Complete Policy Execution Process

Initiate Policy Process (Phase I)

Visual representation of the policy process - phase 1 as outlined below

  1. Requester submits a policy request to the Policy Coordinator.
  2. Policy Coordinator receives request and consults with Tech Memo Coordinator and/or Rule Coordinator.
  3. Policy Coordinator determines whether the require is a policy, tech memo, or rule. (See "Determining the Appropriate Type of Governance" section above.)
    1. If Tech Memo or Rule, Policy Coordinator informs Requester to develop other governance.
    2. If Policy, Policy Coordinator begins Policy Development Process 

Policy Development Process - Pre-development (Phase II)

Visual representation of the policy development process - pre-development - phase 2 as outlined below

  1. Policy Coordinator informs the Governance Chair of the need for a new policy or revision (awareness)
  2. Policy Coordinator notifies the Policy Owner, if the Policy Owner was not the one making the initial request, and completes the policy intake checklist.
  3. Policy Owner consults with Asst. Division Director and SLT Sponsor (AC or Chief) and gains feedback and support for policy.
  4. Policy Owner develops preliminary proposal
  5. Governance Chair reviews proposal, informs SLT, determines whether it’s ok to proceed with policy development, and informs Policy Coordinator of decision.
    1. If no, Policy Coordinator informs Requester and Policy Owner who may appeal to Governance Chair.
    2. If yes, Policy Owner identifies a Development Team (Subject Matter Experts)

Policy Development Process - Development (Phase III)

Visual representation of the policy development process - development - phase 3 as outlined below

  1. Policy Coordinator facilitates policy development meetings and tracks changes and comments; Development Team identifies stakeholders (i.e. people interested in the policy)
  2. Development Team engages critical stakeholders and legal, as needed
  3. Development Team drafts policy
  4. Policy Coordinator reviews and edits draft policy to ensure it complies with policy manual, policy template, and plain language and provides feedback to Development Team; Policy Coordinator works with Business Data Catalog Coordinator to add new definitions to BDC
  5. Development team receives feedback, revises draft policy, and provides to Policy Coordinator until draft is ready for stakeholder review
  6. Policy Coordinator prepares final draft for review

Policy Development Process - Legal, Stakeholder, and Leadership Review (Phase IV)

Visual representation of the policy development process - legal, stakeholder, and leadership review - phase 4 as outlined below

  1. Policy Coordinator submits draft policy for review and feedback to legal, Subject Matter Experts/stakeholders, and agency leadership
  2. Policy Coordinator gathers feedback
  3. Policy Coordinator provides feedback to Policy Development Team
  4. Development Team receives feedback and revises policy draft
  5. Policy Coordinator prepares final draft
  6. Policy Coordinator reviews final draft with Deputy Chief Counsel
  7. Policy Coordinator and Development Team prepare Policy Request Package
  8. Policy Coordinator informs Governance Chairperson that policy is ready for Governance Committee

Governance Review and Approval Process (Phase V)

Visual representation of the governance review and approval process - phase 5 as outlined below

  1. Policy Owner, or designee, works with Division Business Manager to prepare presentation for Governance Committee
  2. Policy Coordinator provides Policy Packet to Governance Chair by agenda deadline
  3. Governance Chair, or designee, distributes Policy Packet to Committee members prior to meeting
  4. Governance Committee members review Policy Packet prior to meeting
  5. Policy Owner, or designee, presents policy to Governance Committee
  6. Governance Committee considers policy request and determines whether to approve policy
    1. If no, Policy Coordinator informs Development Team of rejection and need to develop other form of governance (tech memo, guidance, etc.), if appropriate
    2. If contingent, Governance Committee determines whether policy needs to return to Governance Committee
      1. If yes:
        1. Development Team implements directive(s) and revises policy draft as appropriate
        2. Policy Coordinator provides Policy Packet to Governance Chair by agenda deadline
      2. If no:
        1. Development Team implements directive(s) and revises policy draft as appropriate
        2. Policy Coordinator submits policy to Governance Chair for email vote of approval
        3. Governance Chair distributes to Governance Committee members for email vote
          1. If approved, Governance Committee determines whether SLT approval is required
            1. If no, begin Policy Execution Process
            2. If yes, begin SLT Review Process
          2. If not approved, return to “a.”
    3. If yes, Governance Committee determines whether SLT approval is required
      1. If no, begin Policy Execution Process
      2. If yes, begin SLT Review Process

SLT Review and Approval Process (Phase VI)

Visual representation of the SLT review and approval process - phase 6 as outlined below

  1. Governance Chairperson requests adding policy to SLT meeting agenda and distributes Policy Packet to SLT members for review prior to meeting
  2. SLT adds policy approval item to agenda
  3. Governance Chairperson works with Policy Owner to decide who will present to SLT
  4. Governance Chairperson and/or Policy Owner presents to SLT
  5. SLT considers the policy request and determines whether to approve policy
    1. If no, SLT provides feedback and Policy Coordinator informs Development Team of rejection and need to develop other form of governance (tech memo, guidance, etc.), if appropriate
    2. If yes, SLT informs Policy Coordinator to begin Policy Execution Process
    3. If contingent, SLT provides feedback and determines whether policy needs to return to SLT or Governance
      1. If SLT:
        1. Development Team makes needed revisions
        2. Governance Chairperson requests adding policy to SLT meeting agenda
      2. If Governance, return to Governance Review Process
      3. If neither:
        1. Development Team implements directives and revises policy draft as appropriate
        2. Begin Policy Execution Process

Policy Execution Process (Phases VII and VIII)

Visual representation of the policy execution process - phases 7 and 8 as outlined below

  1. Policy Coordinator obtains signatures from the Policy Owner, Governance Chair, and Responsible Senior Officer
  2. Policy Coordinator requests policy to be published
  3. Communications publishes policy
    1. Policy Owner communicates to audience and educates; and
    2. Governance Chair communicates to SLT that policy is published
  4. Policy Coordinator ensures periodic review of policy