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Minnesota Agencies

Information on Minnesota State Agencies, Boards, Task Forces, and Commissions

Compiled by the Minnesota Legislative Reference Library

Office of the Legislative Auditor

Also known as:
Minnesota Office of the Legislative Auditor
Active dates:1973-

Oversee legislative audit function, strengthen legislative oversight, promote good management, enhance program effectiveness and improve accountability.

Preceded by:

The Office of the Legislative Auditor was created in 1973 following the recommendation of a private-sector study group called the Loaned Executive Action Program (LEAP). Between 1878 and 1973, state agencies and local governments were audited by the Public Examiner, an appointee of the Governor. LEAP argued that this arrangement did not provide for a true independent, or "arms-length", examination of the executive branch. LEAP recommended creation of an office in the legislative branch comparable to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), a non-partisan Congressional watchdog at the national level.

Initially, Minnesota's Office of the Legislative Auditor conducted only financial audits of state agencies. In 1975, its duties were expanded when a Program Evaluation Division was created within the office to examine the management and impact of state-funded programs (Laws 1975 c204 s90). In 1994, the Program Evaluation Division was directed by law to also conduct best practice reviews of local government functions. This responsibility was shifted to the State Auditor in 2004. The State Auditor is also responsible for auditing local governments.

Long-serving Legislative Auditor Jim Nobles retired October 6, 2021. Joel Alter served as Interim Legislative Auditor until the Legislative Audit Commission selected a new Legislative Auditor. Deputy Legislative Auditor Judy Randall  was appointed to head the Office of Legislative Auditor in November 2021. 

Agency heads:

Legislative Auditor: Robert Whitaker (1973-1977); Eldon Stoehr (1977-November 1981); Gerald W. Christenson (November 1981-May 1983); James Nobles, (November 1983-October 6, 2021); Joel Alter, Interim Legislative Auditor (October 7, 2021- November 2021); Judy Randall (November 2021 -  )

Deputy Legislative Auditor for Program Evaluation Division: Bruce Spitz (1977-1978); James Nobles (1978-1983); Roger A. Brooks (1984-2003); Judy Randall (2015-2021). [Note: From 2003 to 2015 James Nobles served as the deputy of the program evaluation division (see Legislative Audit Commission minutes, June 8, 2015).]

Deputy Legislative Auditor for Financial Audit Division: John Asmussen (?-1997); Claudia Gudvangen (1998-February 2006); Cecile Ferkul (March 2006-2017); Chris Buse (2018- )

Record last updated: 12/06/2021

Additional print information on this group may be available in the Library's collection of agency notebooks. Please contact a librarian for assistance. The Minnesota Agencies database is a work in progress.

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