Lawmakers Have Concerns with Audit of MNIT Services

August 16, 2018 10:19 PM

Some Minnesota lawmakers say a state agency is abusing taxpayer money.

A new legislative audit found a long list of concerns with Minnesota IT Services, or MNIT.

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MNIT answers all technology questions, provides services for the state and helps protect your private data. They're able to do so in large part because of taxpayer dollars.

RELATED: State Senator Troubled by Results of MNIT Survey

But the audit released Thursday found they're not using a lot of that money properly. 

Sen. Mary Kiffmeyer said as the chair of the committee that oversees Minnesota IT Services, she's seen a decade of problems with the agency.

"You would expect that the agency that is responsible and should be an example for the rest of Minnesota they would be able to get this right," said Kiffmeyer.

Kiffmeyer calls this audit "saddening." The audit reveals MNIT "did not provide adequate oversight" for projects, "submitted an inaccurate and incomplete" report to the legislature and millions of taxpayer dollars set aside for IT projects hasn't been used yet.

RELATED: Lawmakers, MNIT Officials to Meet, Discuss Oversight Concerns

"When they don't use taxpayer dollars right and they failed to follow statutes and laws and accountability, that affects the taxpayers, we don't want to waste money," Kiffmeyer said. 

MNIT oversees the state's licensing and registration system, which has been plagued with problems.

"No we are not done with MNLARS, it is still not functioning like they said it would," Kiffmeyer said. 

RELATED: Another Financial Crunch Looms for MNLARS

"At the end of the day state government needs IT systems to be functioning," said Judy Randall, deputy legislative auditor. 

Randall said it's uncommon to have one agency with so many issues.

"MNIT certainly is in the hot seat these days. Our office is doing four different projects in addition to this audit on Odyssey fund related to MNIT, and that's incredibly unusual. I've been with the office for 20 years and I've never seen us do four/five projects related to one agency in one year, so certainly there are a lot of questions about the agency," Randall said. 

RELATED: Glitches Delay Launch of Another MNIT Software Project

MNIT released a statement saying:

"We take seriously the Legislative Auditor's report as a tool to help continuously improve agency operations. As noted in the audit report, oversight has been strengthened in recent years as MNIT worked with state agency partners and the legislature to bring about greater transparency, rigor and legislative involvement in use of the account. More work remains to ensure consistent compliance with these strengthened policies, and we are committed to doing just that through implementation of the auditor's recommendations." 

"I've seen this for a while that I really have questions," Kiffmeyer said. "Structurally there's too much power, too many accounts, too many issues, just doesn't seem to be able to get its feet under it and get managed properly."

MNIT will now work to implement these recommendations from the audit report. Lawmakers say all of this will be discussed during the next session.

Click here to view the audit for yourself.

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Brett Hoffland

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