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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Eric Lucero (R)

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Lawsuits & Resignations

Friday, February 17, 2017

Dear Neighbor,


Several victories this week as my Republican colleagues and I continue working hard to bring greater transparency and accountability to government for the betterment of all Minnesotans. 

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Rep. Lucero met with constituent Sue from Saint Michael representing the Alzheimer's Association Minnesota-North Dakota.

LAWSUIT AGAINST WRIGHT COUNTY

I had a successful hearing in the State Government Finance Committee this week on my bill HF 458 pertaining to State Auditor Rebecca Otto’s lawsuit against Wright County.  To help put my bill in context I’ve included some background information below:

  • MN State Law requires each of the 87 counties across MN to have a financial audit of their books performed annually.
  • Prior to 2003, the MN State Auditor enjoyed a government monopoly whereby the 87 MN counties were forced to use the MN State Auditor to perform the required annual audits.
  • In 2003, state law changed to permit counties to utilize private CPA firms. 
  • In 2015, state law changed again, this time to remove the government monopoly the State Auditor enjoyed whereby the counties no longer had to obtain pre-approval from the State Auditor if an individual county chose to utilize a private CPA firm.
  • After the 2015 law change, a total of 44 individual counties chose to utilize the services of private CPA firms.
  • Reasons why individual counties chose NOT to continue to utilize the services of the State Auditor after the 2015 law change permitting counties to utilize private CPA firms are captured in-part below:
    • According to the Austin Daily Herald in June 2015, the Mower County Coordinator said “private audits have been more timely, cheaper and better for the county.”
    • According to the Saint Cloud times in May 2015, Benton County had previously been granted permission by the State Auditor to utilize a private CPA firm but then forced Benton County to return to using the State Auditor upon which the Benton County Administrator stated the County’s auditing costs went from $44,500 to $56,700, and also stated “I’m not sure I quite understand why the State Auditor would have a monopoly on the county audits.”
    • According to the Saint Cloud Times also in May 2015, the Sherburne County Administrator said “his county would like the option of getting competitive bids for audits” and also said “I’m struggling a little bit why all counties wouldn’t be given this option.”
  • As a result of the 2015 law change, the State Auditor decided to waste taxpayer dollars by arbitrarily suing 3 of the 44 counties that lawfully chose NOT to continue utilizing the services of the State Auditor, the counties of Wright, Becker, and Ramsey.
  • My bill HF 458 would require the office of State Auditor Rebecca Otto to reimburse the three counties she is suing for costs the counties incur to defend themselves against the State Auditor’s frivolous and wasteful lawsuit.

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Rep. Lucero explaining his bill HF 458 with State Auditor Rebecca Otto seated to his right.

VIKINGS STADIUM SUITE CONTROVERSY

The Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority (MSFA) is a 5-member, Democrat controlled panel. 3 of the 5 members were appointed by Gov. Dayton and the remaining 2 members were appointed by the mayor of Minneapolis.

The non-partisan Legislative Auditor last week released a special report declaring the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority “violated a core ethical principle” by having provided 158 US Bank Stadium luxury suite tickets to family members and friends.  Since the release of the special report Minnesotans have rightly become outraged the MSFA has become not much more than a tool to grant U.S. Bank Stadium luxury suite tickets to Democrat friends and family, special access not available to the general public.

The 100-page non-partisan Legislative Auditor’s special report, which can be viewed online, was filled with very strong language repudiating the ethical lapses of the Democrat business of rewarding cronyism with special treatment and favoritism and consistently critical of the dismissive explanations of Chairwoman Michele Kelm-Helgen and Executive Director Ted Mondale.

In the wake of the Democrat PR disaster, Chairwoman Michele Kelm-Helgen and Executive Director Ted Mondale resigned Thursday this week.

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Rep. Lucero visiting with Saint Michael City Council Members Cody Gulick and Matt Kammann this week during Transportation Day at the Capitol.

STAYING IN TOUCH

As always please contact me to share any issues, concerns, or feedback you may have that will assist me best represent you.  The best way to reach me is by email at rep.eric.lucero@house.mn or by phone at 651-296-1534.

Have a great weekend!

Sincerely,

Eric Lucero
State Representative
District 30B
Albertville, Hanover, Otsego, Saint Michael, and the Wright County portion of Dayton

 

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