Minnesota Office of the Legislative Auditor
The auditor of Minnesota state government

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Legislative Audit Commission

Minutes

August 22, 2007

Members Present:

Representative Michael Beard Senator Don Betzold
Representative Sondra Erickson Senator James Metzen
Representative Rick Hansen Senator Thomas Neuville
Representative Aaron Peterson Senator Ann Rest
Representative Connie Ruth Senator Claire Robling
Representative Steve Simon  

Members Absent:

Senator David Hann

The Legislative Audit Commission meeting was called to order by Representative Rick Hansen, Chair, at 1:05 p.m.  He said the purpose of the meeting was to hear an overview of OLA’s  Financial Audit Division and to discuss requests for the Office of the Legislative Auditor to review MnDOT and the I-35W bridge issues. 

James Nobles, Legislative Auditor, introduced Cecile Ferkul, Deputy Legislative Auditor, of the Financial Audit Division.  Ms. Ferkul briefed the commission members on the challenges her division is encountering with staff turnover and salary compensation.  She explained of the numerous obstacles she encountered when trying to get the Department of Employee Relations’ approval to move staff within salary ranges.  Senator Metzen said that he would support changing the law so that OLA will have more flexibility with their office’s budget.  Mr. Nobles said he appreciated Senator Metzen’s support and would draft the language for him and the commission to consider.  Representative Hansen thanked the OLA staff for their hard work and dedication. 

Representative Hansen noted that a quorum was present and asked Mr. Nobles to discuss requests that OLA address issues related to MnDOT and the I-35W bridge collapse.  Mr. Nobles suggested the best response would be for OLA’s Program Evaluation Division to update its 1997 report on state highway and bridge spending, but with more focus on bridge maintenance concerns.  He noted that if the commission directed OLA to conduct such an evaluation at MnDOT, the evaluations of workers’ compensation claims and charter schools would be delayed.  Senator Rest moved to approve the OLA to conduct the follow-up evaluation on the state’s highway and bridge programs and delay the release of the two reports on charter schools and workers’ compensation.  The motion prevailed.

With no further business, Representative Hansen adjourned the meeting at 2:35 p.m.

 

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Representative Rick Hansen, Chair

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Mary Moser, Recording Secretary

 

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