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Legislative Audit Commission

Evaluation Subcommittee
Minutes

August 28, 2014

Members Present:

Representative Rick Hansen, Chair     Senator Mary Kiffmeyer
Representative Mary Liz Holberg Senator James Metzen

Members Absent:

Representative Andrew Falk    Senator Warren Limmer

Other Legislators Present:

Representative Michael Beard

Representative Hansen called the meeting of the Evaluation Subcommittee of the Legislative Audit Commission to order at 10:06 a.m. The purpose of the meeting was to release the evaluation, DNR Forest Management.

Representative Hansen called on Jim Nobles, Legislative Auditor. Mr. Nobles gave a brief statement about the Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) management of state-owned forest land and introduced Carrie Meyerhoff, evaluation manager, to give a presentation. Ms. Meyerhoff provided background information about DNR’s Forestry Division. She said that DNR should continue to improve its interdisciplinary forest management efforts and prioritize resources to improve monitoring of subsection forest resource management plans. She also said that since the balance of the Forest Management Investment Account—one of the primary sources of the Forestry Division funding—has declined since it was created, the evaluation recommends that the Legislature should reassess its approach to funding the division’s management of state-owned forest land.

Representative Hansen invited the DNR representative to address the subcommittee. Barb Naramore, Assistant Commissioner of Forestry, thanked the Legislative Audit Commission for including the Forestry Division as one of the topics to be evaluated. She said the report addressed a lot of the issues facing the division, such as dealing with underperforming loggers and coordination of its interdisciplinary forest management efforts. She added that the overall most important recommendation the report made was the suggestion related to funding for the Forestry Division.

Mr. Nobles said that staff in the Office of the Legislative Auditor (OLA) were busy working on several evaluations, with two being released late fall and the majority being released early in the 2015 Legislative Session. He also mentioned there were two financial audits about MNsure being conducted: compliance of state and federal funds to be released in November and eligibility determination to be released later in the year.

Representative Beard, Chair of the Executive Subcommittee, said that he and Senator Reinert would be asking to have an Executive Subcommittee meeting in the next month or two to discuss OLA’s budget process and succession planning for when Mr. Nobles decides to retire. Mr. Nobles acknowledged a meeting was needed to discuss succession, staffing, and budget issues.

With no further business, Representative Hansen adjourned the meeting at 11:18 a.m.

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Representative Rick Hansen, Chair

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Shelly Watterud, Recording Secretary

 

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