They’ve conceded one audit, but will continue to fight for the other.
A crew leader and team of four from the Minnesota State Auditor’s Office will be moving in next week, taking up space at the Pennington County Court House in what is sure to be an expensive “re-do” of the 2015 County Audit.
County Auditor Treasurer Ken Olson says, while conceding the 2015 Audit, Commissioners continue to look for options in the 2016 contract.
Olson says the state will have the full cooperation of his staff as they begin work on the 2015 books.
Even as the re-do moves ahead, Pennington, along with several counties in Northwest Minnesota, continue to stand by work already completed by Hoffman, Phillip and Knutson of Thief River Falls but Olson says State Auditor Rebecca Otto appears to have unquestionable constitutional authority to do what she says she needs to do, after her evaluation showed those audits to be substandard.
Earlier this year Otto put several counties on notice, including, Pennington, Red Lake, Kittson, Roseau and Clearwater, that State Auditors would be conducting, at county expense, a redo of the 2015 Audit as well as a take-over of the 2016 process.
This week, however, County Commissioners gave the Hoffman Group the go-ahead to complete 2016 work already started, while asking the State Auditor’s Office to reconsider their decision to hijack the audit mid-season.
The request appears to be based on an agreement between State Auditors and officials in Roseau County, allowing the 2016 Roseau County Audit to proceed as privately contracted, followed by traditional State oversight of completed work.
Throughout the process, Colleen Hoffman has defended the work done by her firm in 2015 even as Otto, a candidate for Governor next year, has told the counties caught in the middle to “trust the State Auditor’s Office.