|Public Release Date: July 15, 1999||No. 99-34|
The Minnesota Indian Affairs Council was created by the Legislature in 1963, and is the official liaison between the state and its eleven tribal governments. The council provides the Legislature with information about the nature of tribal governments, the relationship of tribal governments to the Indian people of Minnesota, and other Indian affairs issues. The council administers various programs intended to strengthen economic opportunities and protect cultural resources. For example, the council administers the Indian business loan program, offering Minnesota-based Indians the opportunity to establish or expand a business enterprise in Minnesota by providing low-interest loans.
The current chair of the council is Dallas Ross. The executive director, appointed by the council, is Joseph B. Day. The council has seven other staff positions.
Our audit scope included the three fiscal years ending June 30, 1998, and covered the financial activity of the Indian business loan program and certain administrative expenditure categories, including payroll, professional/technical services, travel, and rent.
The council did not administer the Indian business loan program in a reasonable and prudent manner, and did not comply with some statutory provisions and state policy. Findings 1 through 8 in Chapter 2 discuss the council's significant weaknesses in its administration of this program.
The council's administrative expenditures were generally reasonable and prudent; however, Finding 9 explains that the council did not pay employees in accordance with applicable bargaining agreements, and Findings 10 - 12 describe weaknesses in the way the council obtained certain goods and professional/technical services. Finding 13 explains the council's noncompliance with state policies related to accounting for and labeling its personal property.
In its response, the council indicated that it plans to implement the recommendations in the report in a timely manner.