Department of Human Services File No. 1012396R3
Considered and decided by Toussaint, Chief Judge, Kalitowski, Judge, and
When the Commissioner of Human Services disqualifies an applicant under Minn. Stat. § 245A.04, subd. 3d (2002), and later sets aside the disqualification under Minn. Stat. §á245A.04, subd. 3b (2002), the Commissioner exceeds his statutory authority if he reverses the set-aside of the disqualification.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Willis, Judge
Relator appeals from the decision of the Commissioner of Human Services to deny reconsideration of relator's disqualification from providing direct-contact services for licensed facilities and unlicensed personal-care-provider organizations. Relator argues that the commissioner's decision was based on a reversal of the commissioner's set-aside of relator's disqualification, an action that relator contends exceeds the commissioner's statutory authority. Because we conclude that the commissioner exceeded his statutory authority, we reverse.
Relator Blake Stephen Malloy pleaded guilty in October 1998 to misdemeanor theft. In 2000, Malloy applied for a job with a daycare center licensed by respondent Commissioner of Human Services ("the commissioner"). When a criminal-background check revealed Malloy's misdemeanor conviction, the commissioner disqualified Malloy from providing direct-contact services for facilities licensed by either the Department of Human Services ("DHS") or the Department of Health, or for unlicensed personal-care-provider organizations. Malloy requested a reconsideration of his disqualification, and the commissioner set aside the disqualification in August 2000, noting that Malloy's "background study status * * * is now the same as any person who was not disqualified."
In November 2001, the commissioner found Malloy "culpable for maltreatment" and reversed the earlier set-aside of Malloy's disqualification. The finding of culpability followed an incident in which Malloy allowed a child to leave the daycare center with someone not authorized by the child's parents to pick the child up. Police located the child, unharmed, 11 hours later. The commissioner's report on the investigation of the incident concluded that Malloy's conduct constituted maltreatment, but because the child was located unharmed, "the maltreatment for which [Malloy] was culpable [did] not meet the statutory definition of serious or recurring maltreatment." The commissioner nonetheless reversed the earlier set-aside and disqualified Malloy, concluding that the basis for the 2000 set-aside had changed "in light of the finding of maltreatment" in 2001. Malloy requested reconsideration in December 2001, and the commissioner refused to reverse the disqualification.
In early 2002, Malloy applied for a job with a second DHS-licensed daycare center, and the daycare center submitted a background-study form to the commissioner. In April 2002, the commissioner notified Malloy of his prior disqualification based on his theft conviction and ordered the second daycare center to remove Malloy from "any position allowing direct contact" with children at the center. The commissioner also notified Malloy of his right to request reconsideration of the disqualification, and Malloy requested reconsideration. In June 2002, the commissioner refused to set aside the disqualification. This certiorari appeal follows.
Did the commissioner exceed his statutory authority by disqualifying Malloy based on his prior ...