Generally, the Minnesota Office of Strategic and Long Range Planning (Minnesota Planning) properly safeguarded assets and accurately recorded receipts and expenditures in the state's accounting system. Except as noted below, Minnesota Planning was in compliance with applicable finance-related legal provisions.
Minnesota Planning inappropriately paid per diems, totaling $7,535, to four committee members. Minn. Stat. Section 15.059 restricts per diem payments for those committee members who are employees of the state or its political subdivisions. The University of Minnesota employed three of the committee members; a county agency employed the fourth. We recommended that the board should adequately inform committee members and their employers about the statutory limitation on per diem payments and establish a procedure to obtain and monitor committee member employment information to ensure compliance with Minn. Stat. Section 15.059. Also, Minnesota Planning should take action to recover the per diems paid in error and whether committee members need to repay their employers or the state. Committee members need to provide documentation to show that they complied with the statutory requirements.
The Minnesota Office of Strategic and Long Range Planning, established by Minn. Stat. Chapter 4A, is responsible for developing an integrated long-range plan for the state, coordinating activities among all levels of government, and stimulating public interest and participation in the future of the state. It also acts in coordination with the commissioner of Finance, other state agencies, and the Legislature in planning and financing major public programs. Dean Barkley is the current director of the office.
In its response, the Minnesota Office of Strategic and Long Range Planning agreed with the report's finding and is taking corrective action to resolve the issue.
Financial Audit Reports address internal control weaknesses and noncompliance issues found during our audits of state departments and agencies.