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Legislative Audit Commission

Minutes

December 3, 1998

Members present:

Representative Lynda Boudreau    Senator Keith Langseth
Representative Mindy Greiling Senator Thomas Neuville
Representative Kris Hasskamp Senator Pat Pariseau
Representative Philip Krinkie Senator Deanna Wiener
Representative Dan McElroy
Representative Ann Rest

Members absent:

Representative Edwina Garcia Senator Bill Belanger, Jr.
Representative Mark Holsten Senator Sheila Kiscaden
Representative Kathy Tingelstad    Senator David Knutson
Representative Mary Jo McGuire Senator James Metzen
Senator Ember Reichgott-Junge
Senator Allan Spear

The meeting was called to order at 1:20 P.M by Senator Deanna Wiener, Chairperson. The meeting’s purpose was to discuss a proposed housekeeping bill concerning the Legislative Audit Commission and the Office of the Legislative Auditor, and to begin the topic selection process for the 1999 Program Evaluation Division reports.

Chair Wiener introduced Mr. Jim Nobles, Legislative Auditor, who gave background on the housekeeping bill, indicating the proposed bill is a version which revisits the vetoed 1996 bill. Since 1996, the Commission was expanded to 20 members to make the composition a balanced bi-partisan body. The present proposal is to clarify, clean up, and make more concise the language in the statutes concerning the Legislative Audit Commission and the Office of the Legislative Auditor--with no attempt to expand Legislative Auditor powers. However, the proposal would strike the sunset provision so as to continue the Best Practices Reviews work. Mr. Nobles introduced Mr. Peter Wattson of the Revisor’s Office, who is assisting in the proposal’s wording and content. Mr. Roger Brooks and Ms. Claudia Gudvangen, Deputy Legislative Auditors, were also introduced and gave input throughout the meeting.

The Legislative Audit Commission also referred to the size of the Commission, indicating the possibility of reducing the size to 12 or 16 members, yet keeping a bi-partisan balance.

Roger Brooks addressed the Commission regarding Best Practices Reviews work (added to the statutes in 1994 with the intent of focusing on local service impact on communities), which is scheduled to expire on June 30, 1999. Mr. Brooks introduced Ms. Jody Hauer, Best Practices Review Coordinator, who gave a brief review of reports completed and/or in process and noted the widespread utilization of the reports by local governments. Mr. Brandt Richardson, Local Government Advisory Council Chair, was introduced and encouraged the continuation of the Best Practices Review function.

The Commission agreed to have the Legislative Auditor’s Office work closely with Mr. Wattson regarding wording and content of the proposal (which will be circulated for review to the Revisor’s Office, the State Auditor’s Office, the Department of Finance, and other departments/agencies that might be affected), and seek authors for introduction of the bill in the first weeks of the 1999 Legislative session.

Because 1998 reports have earlier release dates than previous years, Mr. Brooks requested the Commission begin the topic selection process by giving directive to staff for background work to be done for possible upcoming evaluations. He distributed a list of possible topics, including welfare reform, cost of crime, tax processing, state park management, metropolitan agencies, fisheries management, Office of Technology, and Minnesota State Colleges and Universities. He also said that Senator Belanger would like to add the dislocated workers program to the list and that the truck weight issue should be added as well. Approval was given to do background papers on welfare reform, cost of crime, state park management, fisheries management, the Office of Technology, Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU), and K-12 education finance. Other background topics will be chosen at a future meeting of the topic selection sub-committee, and final selections for 1999 evaluations will be made in the Spring.

Having no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 3:20 P.M.

_______________________________________
Senator Deanna Wiener, Chair

_______________________________________
Barbara Wing, Acting Recording Secretary

 

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