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Legislative Audit Commission

Minutes

October 27, 1999

The meeting of the Legislative Audit Commission was called to order by Representative Dan McElroy on Wednesday, October 27, 1999 at 10:15 A.M., in Room 316 State Capitol.

Members Present:

Representative Lynda Boudreau Senator David Knutson
Representative Chris Gerlach Senator Keith Langseth
Representative Mindy Greiling Senator Ember Reichgott Junge
Representative Philip Krinkie Senator Claire Robling
Representative Dan McElroy
Rrepresentative Wes Skoglund

Members Not Present:

Representative Phil Carruthers Senator William Belanger
Representative Kris Hasskamp Senator Dave Johnson
Representative Peggy Leppik Senator Sheila Kiscaden
Representative Mary Jo McGuire Senator James Metzen
Senator Thomas Neuville
Senator Deanna Wiener

Representative McElroy recognized Claudia Gudvangen, Deputy Legislative Auditor for the Financial Audit Division. Ms. Gudvangen indicated staff had completed 58 audits of 36 MnSCU campuses in the last three years. She indicated there had been a substantial number of findings: 40 percent were critical, 40 percent were important and 20 percent were discretionary. She indicated that MnSCU Internal Audit follows up on audit findings and answered questions from members.

Representative McElroy recognized Jeanine Leifeld, Audit Manager. Ms. Leifeld reviewed several audit findings and recommendations concerning reconciliations and security of transactions. She noted that the MnSCU system office was attempting to hire a systems security officer.

Representative McElroy recognized James Riebe, Audit Manager. Mr. Riebe noted that the MnSCU financial statements were originally almost $4.5 million out of balance, but upon further investigation, the figure was now closer to $300,000. He noted that part of the problem was the large number of checking accounts at many of the campuses and the need to reconcile each one individually.

Ms. Gudvangen answered questions on the process that is followed when an audit contains findings and indicated that her office would be prepared to discuss the findings contained in reports on the child support enforcement program, the Indian Affairs Council, and the Chicano Latino Affairs Council.

Ms. Gudvangen explained the process in handling allegations of wrong-doing. All complaints are logged and a preliminary assessment is conducted to determine if a full special review is warranted. Some investigation findings are incorporated into ongoing financial audits. In response to a question from Representative Skoglund, Ms. Gudvangen indicated that some agencies are billed for the audits while others are assessed through the indirect cost pool. The funds are deposited into the general fund. On constitutional issues, Ms. Gudvangen noted that investigation staff consult with the Attorney General's Office and House and Senate legal counsel.

Ms. Gudvangen noted that the division is having difficult retaining trained staff because of competition from the private sector.

Representative McElroy recognized Roger Brooks, Deputy Legislative Auditor for the Program Evaluation Division. Mr. Brooks said that reports on welfare reform, state mandates on local governments, state park management, state employee compensation, and school district finances would be released in January or early February. A best practices review of preventive maintenance of local government buildings will be released before May. Staff will begin a study of MnSCU as soon as other projects are completed.

Representative McElroy recognized Representative Ken Wolf. Representative Wolf indicated several school districts had expressed concern to him about the data requests for the school district finances study. He indicated that some did not respond to the requests because they felt they had given the data to the Department of Children, Families and Learning already. In response to his question, Mr. Brooks indicated that the report would contain information on which districts did and did not respond to the request for data.

Mr. Brooks noted that as a result of focus groups made up of people who use program evaluation reports, the reports issued in 2000 will have shorter summaries and that all documents issued by the Office of the Legislative Auditor will be similar in appearance so that they are easily identified.

Mr. Brooks reviewed an opinion issued by the Department of Administration concerning confidentiality of individual legislator responses to the 1999 topic selection survey.

The meeting adjourned at 11:50 a.m.

_______________________________________
Representative Dan McElroy, Chair

_______________________________________
Jean Barnhill, Recording Secretary

 

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