|Public Release Date: December 30, 1998||No. 98-64|
The Minnesota Office of Technology was created by Executive Order in May 1996. During the 1997 session, the Legislature established the office as a separate state agency. In Minn. Stat. Chapter 16E, the Legislature designated the office's executive director as "the state's chief information officer and technology advisor to the governor." John Gunyou served as the office's executive director from its inception until December 1997. JoAnn Hanson is the current executive director.
Our audit scope included general financial management, travel, grants, payroll, and other administrative expenditures for the period from July 1, 1996, through June 30, 1998.
The office had no direct appropriation to fund its activities during fiscal year 1997. As a result, the office relied on funding and staff from a number of state agencies to carry out its mission. We found that these funding arrangements created awkward situations where the officials designated by the Legislature as responsible for appropriations could not effectively exercise control over the use of the money. We think the state should avoid such funding arrangements in the future.
We found two significant concerns relating to the office's overall financial management. Generally, we found that the office showed a lack of fiscal responsibility in many of its early spending decisions. We also found that the office did not adequately separate key financial duties among its staff.
Some office travel expenditures did not comply with applicable employee bargaining agreements and Department of Finance policies. The office erroneously paid certain employee expenses, resulting in duplicate payments. In some cases, the office paid for unreasonable expenses and was not prudent in its travel decisions.
We found that the office did not maintain sufficient control over its grants to ensure that grant funds were being used in compliance with applicable legal provisions. We also found that the office did not comply with state policies over bidding and special expense purchases.