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Legislative Audit Commission

Minutes
November 13, 2001

The meeting of the Legislative Audit Commission was called to order by Senator Ann H. Rest on Tuesday, November 13, 2001 at 9:55 A.M. in Room 123, State Capitol.

Members Present:

Senator William Belanger, Jr.    Representative Dan Larson
Senator Sheila Kiscaden Representative Peggy Leppik
Senator Ann H. Rest Representative Dan McElroy
Senator Claire Robling Representative Mary Jo McGuire
Senator Jim Vickerman Representative Wes Skoglund

Members Excused:

Senator Dave Johnson Representative Steve Dehler
Senator Thomas Neuville    Representative Ruth Johnson
Senator Deanna Wiener Representative Michelle Rifenberg

Senator Rest reported that the purpose of the meeting was to take action on the Personnel Subcommittee's recommendation to reappoint James Nobles for another six-year term as Legislative Auditor. She indicated the subcommittee had met on October 15 and outlined the process used to review his request for reappointment.

Senator Rest recognized James Nobles, Legislative Auditor. Mr. Nobles reviewed his reasons for seeking reappointment as outlined in his self-assessment document and answered questions from members.

Representative McElroy moved that Mr. Nobles be appointed to serve a six year term, from November 2001 to November 2007. Motion passed unanimously. Representative Leppik noted it was helpful to have the self-assessment document as it contained not only strengths, but areas where improvements could be made.

Mr. Nobles thanked members of the Commission and asked them to confirm his appointment of Claudia Gudvangen as Deputy Legislative Auditor for the Financial Audit Division, and Roger Brooks as Deputy Legislative Auditor for the Program Evaluation Division. Both Ms. Gudvangen and Mr. Brooks thanked members for allowing them to serve in the past and that they wished to continue in that capacity. Representative Leppik moved that the Commission confirm the appointments of Ms. Gudvangen and Mr. Brooks, to appointments co-terminus with that of the Legislative Auditor. Motion passed unanimously.

Senator Rest indicated there had been problems with leaks to the media of OLA reports prior to their public release. She recognized Mr. Nobles. Mr. Nobles reviewed the current Commission policy concerning report release and suggested two options. Option one would have no pre-release copies going to any legislators, but it would allow legislators to receive an oral briefing. Option two would allow pre-release copies to go to Commission members only.

Senator Rest indicated Option One was the cleanest way, and that there would be a checklist for members to request briefings. Mr. Nobles indicated the briefings were an opportunity to give legislators an accurate summary of what the report would contain and that Option One was preferable. Senator Robling indicated because the reports are lengthy and they come during a very busy time of year, she preferred Option One. Representative Skoglund indicated he preferred Option Two as there are times it is preferable to read the full report prior to any meetings about it. Representative Leppik indicated if a report was highly controversial, the policy did allow for exceptions where the release could be delayed and copies given to members. In response to a question from Representative McGuire, Mr. Nobles indicated he would draft a letter for Senator Rest to send to all legislators about the change in policy and telling them they could request a briefing. He also indicated staff would call legislators who have expressed an interest in a particular topic to see if they want an oral briefing.

Representative McGuire moved to amend the Legislative Audit Commission's Report Release Policies and Procedures document as follows:

Delete items "3" and insert the following:

3. The Legislative Auditor shall not provide any individual or organization a copy of a final report before it is made public, except as follows:

  • The Legislative Auditor shall provide the head of an agency subject to an audit or evaluation the final report related to the agency 24 hours in advance of its public release if the agency head agrees to maintain the non-public classification of a pre-release report until it is made public by the Legislative Auditor.

  • The Legislative Auditor shall provide an individual who is the subject of a special review the final report related to the individual 24 hours in advance of its public release if the individual agrees to maintain the non-public classification of a pre-release until it is made public by the Legislative Auditor.
Motion passed, 7 yeas, 1 nay.

Senator Rest indicated Senator Kiscaden's subcommittee on topic selection and data requests will be meeting on Tuesday, December 4, 2001 at 1:00 p.m. She indicated any members who were interested in serving should contact her.

The meeting adjourned at 10:35 a.m.

_______________________________________
Senator Ann H. Rest, Chair

_______________________________________
Jean Barnhill, Recording Secretary

 

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