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Legislative Audit Commission


January 7, 1999

The meeting of the Legislative Audit Commission was called to order by Senator Deanna Wiener on Thursday, January 7, 1999 at 10:00 a.m. in Room 15, State Capitol.

Members Present:

Representative Lynda Boudreau Senator Bill Belanger
Representative Kris Hasskamp Senator Sheila Kiscaden
Representative Mark Holsten Senator David Knutson
Representative Philip Krinkie Senator Keith Langseth
Representative Dan McElroy Senator James Metzen
Representative Mary Jo McGuire Senator Thomas Neuville
Representative Jim Rhodes Senator Pat Pariseau
Senator Ember Reichgott Junge
Senator Deanna Wiener

Members Not Present:

Representative Ron Abrams Senator Allan Spear
Representative Dave Bishop Representative Mindy Greiling
Representative Tim Pawlenty Representative Thomas Pugh
Representative Ann H. Rest Representative Steve Sviggum
Representative Kathy Tingelstad

Senator Wiener recognized James Nobles, Legislative Auditor. Mr. Nobles indicated that members had received a copy of the draft “housekeeping bill,” which was reviewed by staff in House Research, Senate Counsel, and the Department of Finance. He noted that the State Auditor's Office is still reviewing the draft and will have comments soon. Mr. Nobles noted that the draft bill would reduce the membership of the Legislative Audit Commission from 20 members to 16, while maintaining the bi-partisan balance. Senator Wiener and Representative McElroy indicated that as authors of the bill, they would like to see an effective date of January 2001, which would permit the current membership to complete their term on the commission.

Senator Wiener recognized Roger Brooks, Deputy Legislative Auditor for the Program Evaluation Division. Mr. Brooks indicated that the purpose of the meeting was to release and review the program evaluation report on State Building Code and reviewed the reasons why the commission selected this topic. He introduced Jo Vos, project manager.

Ms. Vos reviewed the reasons for the study, methods used in conducting it, findings, conclusions and recommendations, and answered questions from members. There was some discussion about conflicts among the various organizations responsible for promulgating and enforcing different parts of the code.

Senator Wiener recognized State Fire Marshal, Thomas Brace. Mr. Brace indicated that 75 percent of the code is fire-related and that the code was developed by consensus with the Department of Administration Building Codes and Standards Division. He indicated that he supports the development of a mechanism to adjudicate disagreements over the code and that the Uniform Building Code should also be enforced.

Senator Wiener recognized State Building Inspector, Thomas Joachim. Mr. Joachim stated that the Board of Appeals process needed to be changed to make it shorter. Both Mr. Brace and Mr. Joachim answered questions from members and stated that they were exploring ways for their two offices to work more closely together.

Senator Wiener recognized Patricia Bloomgren, Director of the Environmental Health Division in the Department of Health. Ms. Bloomgren indicated that her agency wants to see responsibility for enforcement of the code put where the job will be done best, expressing concern about the variation in how it is enforced in small communities and the fact that there is no support available to officials in small communities on interpretation of the code or decisions that need to be made. Representative Hasskamp suggested one central agency made up of various experts for help and advice. Ms. Bloomgren also suggested a handbook which could contain information on jurisdiction and where officials could go for support.

The meeting adjourned at 11:15 AM.

Senator Deanna Wiener, Chair

Jean Barnhill, Recording Secretary


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