Press Release: Local Governments Rise to the Occasion
For Immediate Release
November 12, 2020
Donald McFarland | 651-236-0494
Executive Order 20-22 No Longer Needed
Saint Paul, MN - On March 27, 2020, Governor Walz issued Executive Order 20-22, which authorized the State Auditor to temporarily suspend reporting requirements during the COVID-19 Peacetime Emergency. Today, the Executive Council votes on rescinding that order. Auditor Blaha explains, “Local governments are meeting, and in some cases beating, reporting deadlines. Because local governments have managed COVID-19 workplace challenges well, we no longer need this Executive Order.”
The State Auditor is charged with overseeing the finances of local government units in part through a variety of local government reporting requirements and deadlines mandated in part by Minnesota statutes. In some instances, failure to meet these statutory requirements and deadlines can result in withholding of state aid or other fiscal consequences. “As stated in the order, it was critical that we supported local governments and gave them flexibility to adjust normal operations in order to allow government staff to focus on urgent demands and needs in their community,” added Blaha.
Now, although the pandemic continues to strain local government resources, through diligence and dialogue with the State Auditor’s Office, most local governments have been able to meet existing statutory deadlines. Additionally, with the 2021 legislative session on the horizon, further needs for statutory adjustments can be addressed by the Legislature.
Blaha has a message for the Legislature as well. “While we are impressed with local governments’ ability to respond to the coronavirus while still meeting their reporting obligations, I urge the Legislature to be vigilant. If the situation changes, the Legislature needs to be ready to change their requirements to ensure local governments can keep their focus on their community’s health.”
The Office of the State Auditor is the constitutional office that oversees nearly $40 billion in local government finances for Minnesota taxpayers. The Office of the State Auditor helps to ensure financial integrity and accountability in local government financial activities. Julie Blaha is Minnesota’s 19th State Auditor. Follow us on Twitter @MNStateAuditor.