Description of the Office of the State Auditor
The Office of the State Auditor is a constitutional office that is charged with overseeing more than $20 billion spent annually by local governments in Minnesota. The Office of the State Auditor does this by performing audits of local government financial statements and by reviewing documents, data, reports and complaints reported to the Office. The financial information collected from local governments is analyzed and serves as the basis of statutory reports issued by the Office of the State Auditor.
The mission of the Office of the State Auditor is to oversee local government finances for Minnesota taxpayers by helping to ensure financial integrity and accountability in local governmental financial activities.
Through financial, compliance, and special audits, the State Auditor oversees and ensures that local government funds are used for the purposes intended by law and that local governments hold themselves to the highest standards of financial accountability.
The State Auditor is an officer in the executive branch of the State of Minnesota and serves a four-year term. To serve as State Auditor, a person must be a qualified voter, at least 21 years of age, and elected by the people (Minnesota Constitution, Article V). The State Auditor serves on the State Executive Council, State Board of Investment, Land Exchange Board, Minnesota Housing Finance Agency, Public Employees Retirement Association, and Rural Finance Authority Board.
Primary statutory citations regarding the State Auditor's office are in Chapter 6 of Minnesota Statutes .
Rebecca Otto is the current State Auditor. She was first elected in 2006. State Auditor Otto is currently serving her third four-year term.
The State Auditor has oversight responsibility for all units of local government, including:
- counties, cities and townships
- school districts
- fire relief association pension funds
- housing and redevelopment authorities
- port authorities
- soil and water conservation districts
- approximately 150 other special districts
The Audit Practice Division performs approximately 150 financial and compliance audits and reviews approximately 400
single audits per year. This division establishes uniform reporting standards and provides technical assistance and education to local units of government, which strengthens accounting practices and promotes good government at the local level. Contact: Greg Hierlinger, Deputy State Auditor and Division Director, (651) 296-7003, or e-mail: email@example.com .
The Pension Division reviews investment, financial, and actuarial reporting for almost 700 public pension plans. Its objective is to ensure compliance with state statutes governing the administration of plans covering approximately 20,000 members. Contact: Rose Hennessy Allen, Pension Director, (651) 296-5985, or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org .
The Tax Increment Financing Division promotes legal compliance and accountability through examination and review of political subdivisions’ use of tax increment financing (TIF). The division reviews TIF plans and annual financial reports from approximately 2,100 TIF districts; responds to questions regarding tax increment financing from citizens and government officials; and provides training on compliance with state TIF laws. Contact: Jason Nord, TIF Division Director, (651) 296-7979, or e-mail: email@example.com .
The Legal/Special Investigations Division investigates allegations of theft or misuse of public funds. It also provides legal compliance information and training to local government officials and provides legal compliance expertise to staff within the Office of the State Auditor. Contact: Celeste Grant, Deputy State Auditor and General Counsel, (651) 297-3673, or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org .
The Government Information Division collects and analyzes local government financial data, which is assembled in regular reports provided to the Legislature and the public. It also conducts a Best Practices Review of local government operations. The reports assist the Legislature with planning and policy-making decisions related to local governments. Contact: Greg Hierlinger, Deputy State Auditor, (651) 296-7003, or e-mail: email@example.com .
The Office publishes monthly newsletters and weekly e-mail updates to keep officials and stakeholders abreast of issues and events related to local government financial activities. In addition, office staff provide phone and e-mail support to local government officials on a daily basis. Click here to learn more about the Office of the State Auditor's e-mail updates.Source: www.osa.state.mn.us