Minnesota Office of the Legislative Auditor
Financial Audit Division

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Report Summary
Minnesota State Courts

 

Financial Audit Division Report 05-34 Released June 9, 2005

Conclusions:

The Minnesota State Courts developed and implemented a position transition plan for trial court employees moving to state funded positions. The courts consistently applied the plan to employees and accurately recorded positions in the state’s personnel/payroll system. As explained in the findings below, the courts had internal control weaknesses in its payroll paid through the state’s personnel/payroll system.

Findings:
  • The courts did not properly monitor payroll responsibilities in the state’s new online time reporting process – “Self Service Time Entry.” This process eliminates paper timesheets. Instead, employees report their time online and supervisors provide electronic approvals. For one pay period, 26 percent of the courts’ employees using Self Service Time Entry were included on an exception report, identifying transactions that did not meet the Department of Finance’s control expectations.
  • The courts have not effectively used standard payroll audit reports to verify the accuracy of payroll transactions.
  • The courts did not have a records retention schedule for its trial court payroll documents.
The report contained 3 findings relating to internal control and legal compliance.
  

Audit Scope:

Audit Period:
July 2001 – June 2004

Programs Audited:

Selected personnel/payroll processes of the Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, and trial courts:

  • Payroll paid through the state’s personnel/payroll system
  • Trial court employees’ transition to state funded positions


Agency Background:

Minnesota’s state courts include the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals, and the trial courts. Since fiscal year 2000, the courts have been shifting the cost of the trial courts from the counties to the state. This shift to state funding of trial courts has resulted in a significant increase in the court’s payroll costs through fiscal year 2004, when payroll totaled nearly $167 million.

In fiscal year 2004, the courts paid about 84 percent of its payroll through the state’s personnel/payroll system. About half of that payroll was paid using the state’s new Self Service Time Entry process.

More Information

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