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Report Summary
Department of Transportation

Special Review - Airplane Purchase

 

Public Release Date: April 15, 1994 No. 94-13

Objectives

The Office of the Legislative Auditor has conducted a special review of an airplane purchase by the Minnesota Department of Transportation (Mn/DOT). We conducted the review at the request of three members of the Minnesota House of Representatives.

Our objective was to answer the following questions:

  • Did the Department of Transportation have authority to spend more for the airplane than was appropriated by Laws of Minnesota First Special Session, Chapter 4, Section 3? By spending more to purchase the airplane than was appropriated during the special session, did the department violate Minn. Stat. Section 10.17 or Section 10.31?
  • Did the Department of Transportation have authority to trade in a state airplane and receive credit toward the purchase of another airplane?
  • Did the Department of Transportation's procurement process comply with the law and was it adequate to ensure that the state made an economical purchase?

Conclusions

We concluded that the department did have authority to spend more to purchase the airplane than was appropriated during the special session. We also concluded that the department did not violate statutory provisions that restrict agency spending and indebtedness (Minn. Stat. Section 10.17 and Section 10.31) because the department transferred money from its equipment account to cover the additional cost of the airplane.

We concluded that the department had implied authority to trade in a used state airplane and receive credit toward the purchase of another airplane. But, we recommend that the department obtain explicit statutory authority if it wants to continue the practice of trading in used equipment.

We found that the department did not comply with one statutory requirement. It did not offer to sell the used "surplus" airplane to other state agencies and political subdivisions before the airplane was offered for sale (or, in this case, for trade) by competitive bids. Otherwise, we concluded that the department's procurement process complied with the law, and we concluded that the department's procurement process was reasonable and business-like.

 

Office of the Legislative Auditor ♦ Room 140, 658 Cedar St., St. Paul, MN 55155