The Office of the Legislative Auditor (OLA) is the auditor of Minnesota state government. OLA examines the financial operations of state agencies and the performance of state-funded or state authorized programs.* OLA conducts audits, evaluations, and investigations, and it reports the results to the Minnesota Legislature.
|Mission||OLA’s mission is to strengthen accountability and legislative oversight in state government.|
|Goal||OLA’s goal is to issue reports that are accurate, objective, timely, and useful.|
|Nonpartisan||OLA provides state officials and the public with a valuable resource—reliable, nonpartisan|
information about the performance and financial condition of state government.
For more information about OLA, report copies, or a list of work in progress, visit our website at: www.auditor.leg.state.mn.us
The Program Evaluation Division was established in 1975. Legislators wanted to expand OLA’s ability to examine the management of state agencies and the cost-effectiveness of state-funded programs. Minnesota Statutes, 3.971, subd. 7, directs the division to:
OLA works with many legislators and legislative committees, but it directly reports to the Legislative Audit Commission. The commission is bicameral and bipartisan, with equal representation from the House and Senate and the two major political parties.
One of the commission’s most important responsibilities is to appoint the Legislative Auditor, who serves a six-year term. The commission also approves topics for OLA to evaluate and may request specific audits or investigations.
According to Minnesota Statutes, 3.971, subd. 7, the Legislative Audit Commission (LAC) may direct the Legislative Auditor to evaluate any state or metropolitan department or agency, and “any program or activity established or funded, in whole or in part, by the state.”
In selecting topics, the LAC considers factors such as:
During fieldwork, evaluators interview agency staff and other stakeholders, observe operations, and collect and analyze data. OLA staff may conduct additional activities—such as literature reviews, surveys, or legal research—that are necessary to develop and support evaluation findings.
Evaluations may address a range of issues. For example, evaluations may examine compliance with the law, program outcomes, or operational efficiency. In its reports, OLA makes recommendations for improvement to both agency officials and the Legislature.
While the Legislative Audit Commission selects evaluation topics, evaluations are conducted independently by OLA’s professional staff, and the resulting reports are solely the responsibility of OLA. Legislators do not review OLA reports before they are made public by the Office of the Legislative Auditor.
OLA often releases its reports at meetings of the Legislative Audit Commission. In addition, OLA staff often present reports to House and Senate committees with jurisdiction over the agency or program reviewed.
State law requires organizations and individuals subject to OLA examination to cooperate fully with the office. That includes providing OLA staff with access to all data and documents, even those classified by law as “not public.” If cooperation is not forthcoming, OLA has legal authority to compel cooperation through subpoenas.
Before OLA releases an evaluation report, your organization will have the opportunity to review and comment on the draft report. OLA staff may make changes to the draft based on your comments to ensure accuracy and fairness. After changes have been made, your organization will be asked to write a response letter that will be published with the final report. In these cases, your organization will have the opportunity to respond after OLA’s presentation.
OLA may contact your organization several months after an evaluation has been completed to learn if the organization has made any changes in response to the evaluation.
Board of Cosmetology Licensing
Collaborative Urban and Greater Minnesota Educators of Color (CUGMEC) Grant Program
Driver Examination Stations
MnDOT Workforce and Contracting Goals
Compensatory Education Revenue
Department of Human Rights: Complaint Resolution Process
DHS Oversight of Personal Care Assistance
Public Utilities Commission’s Public Participation Processes
Safety in State Correctional Facilities
Debt Service Equalization for School Facilities
Economic Development and Housing Challenge Program
Minnesota State Arts Board Grant Administration
MnDOT Measures of Financial Effectiveness
Office of Minnesota Information Technology Services (MNIT)
Public Facilities Authority: Wastewater Infrastructure Program
* OLA is distinct from the Office of the State Auditor, a Constitutional office headed by an elected official. That office conducts audits of local governments.
The current Legislative Auditor and Program Evaluation Division (PED) Deputy is:
Judy Randall 651-296-4708 Judy.Randall@state.mn.us