Legislative Auditor’s report on the PUC taking longer than expected, no release date set

The Minnesota Office of Legislative Auditor has released five of the six program evaluations that were expected around the beginning of the year; the only one outstanding is the report on the Public Utilities Commission’s (PUC’s) Public Engagement Processes.

Every year the Minnesota Legislative Audit Commission assigns the Legislative Auditor a handful of policy questions to research. The Auditor’s reports are well respected at the Legislature and inform its decisions. The Auditor typically releases the reports early in the following year, in time for the upcoming legislative session.

Reports on the other five topics selected in 2019 were released in February and March, ranging from reviews of state oversight of Personal Care Attendants and state pesticide regulations to safety in state correctional facilities.

This blog has chronicled problems with how the PUC engaged with Native Americans and other citizens opposed to the pipeline. This year’s legislative session will wrap up this coming week. It’s disappointing that the PUC evaluation will not have been part of the discussion.

Healing Minnesota Stories wrote the Office of Legislative Auditor Thursday to ask why the report had not been released yet and when it was expected to be released. We received a prompt response. It reads in part:

We, too, had hoped to be able to release this evaluation earlier in the year.  However, as you surmised in your e-mail, the pandemic did cause some disruption in our work as we adjusted to a fully remote work process.  Despite this disruption, we are committed to producing the accurate and objective work we—and others—expect from OLA [Office of Legislative Auditor].

As you may know, our reports go through an extensive review and verification process.  During this process, every number, clause, and sentence of an OLA report is double-checked (sometimes triple-checked) by a verifier.  Our PUC evaluation is currently in the middle of this verification process.

The team is working hard to complete the evaluation as soon as possible.  Once it is complete, we will schedule a public release for the report.  You will be notified once a release date has been scheduled.


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