February 23, 2009
|Representative Michael Beard||Senator Don Betzold|
|Representative Rick Hansen||Senator James Metzen|
|Representative Bill Hilty||Senator Ann H. Rest|
|Representative Ron Shimanski||Senator Claire Robling|
|Representative Mary Liz Holberg||Senator Joe Gimse|
|Representative Steve Simon||Senator David Hann|
Senator Ann Rest, Chair, called the Legislative Audit Commission (LAC) meeting to order at 9:07 a.m. The purpose of the meeting was to release the evaluation, MINNCOR Industries.
Senator Rest introduced Jim Nobles, Legislative Auditor. Mr. Nobles gave a brief overview of what MINNCOR Industries is and then introduced Jo Vos, manager for the MINNCOR evaluation. Ms. Vos said that OLA’s overall impression of MINNCOR was positive. MINNCOR was created by the Department of Corrections (DOC) in order to provide work opportunities for inmates and to do so without General Fund support. Most of MINNCOR’s profit comes from two industries—license plates and its canteen. Overall profits are used partly to fund EMPLOY, a post-release employment program for inmates, and to reinvest in MINNCOR’s operations. Ms. Vos said that some of the major recommendations made by OLA are that MINNCOR should: 1) report the full cost of inmate wages and the money received from DOC for inmates’ confinement costs in its financial statements and annual report, 2) use contracts instead of purchase orders, 3) develop a marketing plan directed at state agencies and local governments, and 4) comply with statutory requirements regarding a private business marketing plan.
At 9:20 a.m., Senator Rest noted that a quorum was present for the record.
Senator Rest introduced two representatives of the Minnesota Department of Corrections: Lynn Dingle, Deputy Commissioner, and Guy Piras, Director of MINNCOR. Ms. Dingle said that DOC agrees with most of the recommendations in the evaluation. She said that DOC has concerns regarding the recommendation to discontinue using purchase orders for inmates’ labor for private businesses and that they are going to address this issue “through policy revision that will define the appropriate use of purchase orders and expand the use of contracts in daily business.”
Mr. Nobles mentioned that on Wednesday, February 25, OLA would be releasing Oversight of Workers’ Compensation to Senator Metzen’s standing committee, and that he was sure Senator Metzen would welcome any members of the LAC at that meeting.
Senator Rest mentioned that the Topic Selection letter had gone out the previous week and the deadline for submitting topics was March 19th.
With no further discussion or comments, the meeting was adjourned at 10:08 a.m.
Senator Ann H. Rest, Chair
Shelly Watterud, Recording Secretary