The Legislative Auditor says several state agencies need to do a better of job of monitoring federal money - just at a time when billions of federal stimulus money is set to arrive in the state.
Legislative Auditor James Nobles said his office conducted annual audits of the Department of Human Services, Minnesota Management and Budget and the Department of Education and found that state officials need to do a better job of keeping track of federal money. He said the audits are of particular concern since these agencies will oversee billions of dollars in federal stimulus money.
"This audit was not of the stimulus money that's coming," Nobles said. "It's from the federal money that was already here in the pipeline and so I think that this was just a heads up to everybody that we need better controls, better accountability for the stimulus money and for all other money frankly that the federal government is spending."
Tom Hanson, commissioner of Minnesota Management and Budget, said the state will increase training to ensure that state employees meet the requirements set out by the audit. He added that they plan on hiring an outside accounting firm to help monitor the stimulus money.
"We are faced with an unprecedented challenge of spending a lot of federal money quickly," Hanson said. "And I think as we go forward we will need some additional financial assistance with our agency in order to meet the federal reporting requirements."
Hanson said he's confident that all of the federal stimulus money sent to the state of Minnesota will be spent appropriately.