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State Auditor Otto To Legislature: Don't Let Private Firms Do My Work

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCCO) -- Top state lawmakers say they are "very close" to an agreement to hold a special session in the next few days -- but still no official word on when.

Republicans and Democrats reached agreement Monday on an education spending bill that was causing the budget impasse. But there's another issue that has the state auditor considering going to court.

Minnesota State Auditor Rebecca Otto says the legislature is stripping her office of its core function -- auditing.

And she blames "sleep deprived" legislators for what she says will be "chaos in the counties."

The bill allows counties to hire private auditing firms to do the work the state auditor does now.

Otto says private auditors cannot do the kind of oversight her office provides. And she says the bill contains a costly mistake that should have been caught: abolishing county audits for the next year.

"I am hopeful that they are going to rectify this thing, that they are going to take care of it in short order, and they are going to restore our language," Otto said. "And if they want to do something else, do something else, but don't take this away from the people. This is the people's office, the people of Minnesota's. This is their office. This is their function, and they don't have any right to take it away."

Twenty-eight counties already have the authority to hire an outside accounting firm to do their audits.

Supporters say it is a lot less expensive than the audits done by the state.

Gov. Dayton wants the law repealed, even though it is in a bill he already signed.


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