Minnesota Office of the Legislative Auditor
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Legislative Audit Commission Meeting


February 9, 2010

Members Present:

Representative Rick Hansen Senator Joe Gimse
Representative Bill Hilty Senator David Hann
Representative Ron Shimanski    Senator James Metzen
  Senator Ann H. Rest

Members Absent:

Representative Michael Beard Senator Don Betzold
Representative Mary Liz Holberg    Senator Claire Robling
Representative Steve Simon  


Senator Ann Rest, Chair, called the Legislative Audit Commission (LAC) meeting to order at 9:15 a.m. Senator Rest said that the purpose of the meeting was to release the evaluation, MnSCU System Office.

Senator Rest introduced Jim Nobles, Legislative Auditor. Mr. Nobles explained that James McCormick, the Chancellor of the MnSCU System Office, asked the Legislative Audit Commission to evaluate them after legislative questions and concerns regarding the size and performance of MnSCU’s central administrative office. Mr. Nobles introduced Joel Alter, Evaluation Manager for MnSCU System Office, to give the details of the evaluation. Mr. Alter said that MnSCU was formed by a 1995 merger of three systems: State University System, Community College System, and Technical College System. The system office is governed by a Board of Trustees. The system office has grown more in recent years than other areas of MnSCU because of system initiatives, campus requests, and increased appropriations. Mr. Alter said the evaluation found that, in certain areas, the MnSCU Board and Chancellor should provide better services to the campuses and delegate more responsibilities to campuses that have the necessary skills and training.

Senator Rest noted at 9:29 a.m. that a quorum had been attained.

Senator Rest welcomed the representatives from the Minnesota Colleges and Universities (MnSCU): James McCormick, Chancellor; Scott Thiss, Member of the Board of Trustees; and Patrick Johns, President of Anoka-Ramsey Community College. Mr. McCormick said that the report provides MnSCU with valuable information that will help them improve their services. Mr. Thiss explained that the Board of Trustees takes the audit reports very seriously and view them as real opportunities for improvement. He said that he immediately called an audit committee meeting to begin processing the recommendations of the evaluation done by OLA. The audit committee will then present their ideas to the full board for consideration. Mr. Johns said that he is one of only two presidents who have served as an institution president since prior to the merger. He said that MnSCU has come a long way since then. Mr. Johns said that the MnSCU presidents have a “voice” in board decisions by participating on the board’s committees.

Mr. Nobles said that some evaluation reports will be released to House and Senate committees rather than the LAC, including two evaluations—Public Defender System and Workforce Programs—next week.

With no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 10:19 a.m.

Senator Ann H. Rest, Chair

Shelly Watterud, Recording Secretary


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