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3 golden objects Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Legislative Auditor - Financial Audit Division

Report Summary

Financial-Related Audit

Office of the Governor

January 1, 1999, through December 31, 2000

The Office of the Legislative Auditor (OLA) audits each of the constitutional offices twice during an incumbent's term pursuant to Legislative Audit Commission policy. This audit focused on the financial activities during the first two calendar years of Governor Ventura's administration.

Current Findings and Recommendations:

  • The Office of the Governor reimbursed some employees for certain meals that were not eligible for reimbursement. The office reimbursed the employees for meals, totaling $424, that it already had paid as part of the cost of a conference or through commercial transportation. The office subsequently recovered the overpayments and, we recommended that, in the future, they compare conference and travel itineraries to employee expense reimbursements to ensure meals are not paid for twice.
  • The office did not sufficiently document out-of-state trips. Employees did not always prepare the required out-of-state travel authorization form prior to incurring costs of a scheduled trip. The office also did not document a cost-benefit justification when employees extended their travel status in order to obtain reduced airfare prices. We recommend the office document its comparison of airfare savings to any additional meals and lodging costs incurred.
  • The office did not effectively control cellular phone use. We found that the office did not routinely monitor personal cell phone use by employees until January 2001. A review by the office of an 18-month period resulted in staff reimbursement for personal calls totaling $2,041. However, an informal office practice, based on a Department of Administration policy, allowed employees to make personal phone calls without reimbursement if the calls did not exceed the employee's cellular phone plan limit. However, a Department of Finance policy requires reimbursement of these personal calls. We recommended clarification of executive branch policies governing personal cellular phone usage. Also, the office did not effectively assign cellular phone plans since business and personal usage was not distinguished.
  • The contract associated with the Governor's weekly radio talk show needs to be clarified. The office incurred about $450 of incidental costs necessary to broadcast the show remotely. The contract does not explicitly identify responsibility for these costs. We recommend clarification.

Financial-Related Audit Reports address internal control weaknesses and noncompliance issues noted during our audits of state departments and agencies. The scope of our audit work at the Office of the Governor included payroll, travel, and administrative expenditures for rent, membership fees, communications, supplies and equipment, and Governor's residence user reimbursements. The office's response is included in the report.

Office of the Legislative Auditor, Room 140, 658 Cedar St., St. Paul, MN 55155 : or 651‑296‑4708