Audit says Attorney General’s Office must preapprove employee overtime

Minnesota’s Office of the Legislative Auditor released a performance audit of the state’s Office of the Attorney General and found that internal controls of employee overtime should be strengthened.

The report released Monday morning states that the office did not document preapprovals of overtime worked by eight employees, who were paid a total of $1,063.

Seven of those employees worked without overtime preapproval, while another requested overtime but did not retain approval. The report states one employee worked four additional hours to make up for time taken off earlier in that pay period without realizing that overtime is determined based on a 40-hour workweek rather than being based on a two-week pay period.

The audit points out that without preapproval for overtime, the office is at a higher risk of paying for unnecessary overtime.

In conclusion, the performance audit states while AG Ellison’s office generally complied with finance-related legal requirements, there were “some instances of noncompliance and an internal control weakness related to payroll expenditures” meaning that preapprovals of employee overtime were not always properly documented.

No other issues were found in the Office of the Legislative Auditor’s report on the financial performance of the Office of the Attorney General.

5 EYEWITNESS NEWS reached out to Ellison’s office for a reaction to the audit, and received this statement:

“After a rigorous, six-and-a-half-month audit in which the Attorney General’s Office worked cooperatively and transparently with the Office of the Legislative Auditor, we are pleased that no issues were found in the vast majority of the wide range of areas reviewed. As we’ve shared with the OLA in our response (on pp. 29-30 of the OLA’s report), implementation of the recommendations for the one minor finding we received, related to overtime due to changes in a move towards flexible work schedules necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic, are already underway. We appreciate the collaborative process with the OLA, their thorough, professional review, and the opportunity for our Office to reflect and improve as we continue in our commitment to excellence surrounding financial controls.”

Brian Evans, Press Secretary for the Office of Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison