About the Legislative Audit Division
Who We Are and what we do
Article V, Section 10(4) of the Montana Constitution mandates a legislative post-audit function. The Legislative Audit Act, contained in Title 5, chapter 13, MCA, establishes the Legislative Audit Committee of the Montana Legislature and the Legislative Audit Division. The Mission and Goals of the Legislative Audit Division include: provide the Legislature, its committees, and its members with factual and timely information vital to the discharge of their legislative duties.
Legislative Audit Committee
The Legislative Audit Committee is a bicameral and bipartisan standing committee of the Montana Legislature. It consists of six members of the Senate and six members of the House of Representatives. The Audit Committee appoints, consults with, and advises the Legislative Auditor. The Audit Committee reviews the audit reports submitted by the Legislative Auditor, releases the audit reports to the public, and serves as the conduit between the Legislative Auditor and the Legislature.
The Legislative Auditor is solely responsible to the Legislative Assembly and is appointed by and operates primarily through the Legislative Audit Committee. The term of office is for two years beginning July 1 of each even numbered year.
The Legislative Auditor and staff have the statutory authority to examine, at any time, all the books, accounts, and records, confidential or otherwise, of a state agency. All state agencies are required by law to aid and assist the Legislative Auditor in the auditing of books, accounts, and records.
The Legislative Auditor and staff have two primary duties prescribed by the Legislative Audit Act:
- Conduct audits of state agencies, programs, and operations in accordance with Governmental Auditing Standards.
- Assist the Legislature, its committees, and its members by gathering and analyzing information when requested.
Organization and Staff
The Legislative Audit Division is comprised of administrative staff and three operational components: Financial-Compliance Audit, Performance Audit, and Information Systems Audit. Currently staff members number: Financial-Compliance 27, Performance 13, Information System 6, and Administrative7.5
Financial-Compliance audits determine if an agency's financial operations are properly conducted; if the agency has complied with applicable laws and regulations; and if the financial reports are presented fairly. Financial-compliance audit staff members hold degrees with an emphasis in accounting. Most staff members hold CPA certificates.
The primary objectives of financial-compliance audits are to ascertain that agencies:
- Make expenditures only in furtherance of authorized activities and in accordance with the requirements of applicable laws and regulations.
- Collect and account properly for all revenues and receipts arising from their activities.
- Maintain adequate safeguards and accountability for assets in their custody.
- Submit reports and financial statements to the Governor, the Legislature, and central control agencies which disclose fully the nature and scope of the activities conducted, and provide a proper basis for evaluating the agencies' operations.
A secondary objective of financial-compliance audits is to identify instances and areas where improvements to the efficiency and/or effectiveness of agency operations or a program could be made. These areas may be developed as part of the financial-compliance audit or as separate performance audits depending upon the magnitude of the areas and the need for concentrated audit resources.
Performance audits assess the effectiveness and efficiency of the operations of state government. In order to fulfill this purpose the members of the performance audit staff hold degrees in disciplines appropriate to the audit process. Areas of expertise include business and public administration, statistics, economics, accounting, communications, computer science, and engineering.
The performance audit process starts with a review of statutory directives and program goals and objectives. Audit criteria are established and the program is evaluated in relation to whether statutory directives are met and associated goals achieved. The program is also evaluated to determine if directives and goals can be achieved with greater efficiency and economy while being properly controlled and managed.
Information Systems audits combine some of the elements of both financial-compliance and performance audits. Controls within Information System operations are examined to determine whether assets are adequately safeguarded and to determine the reliability of computer-generated reports. In addition, Information System audits address efficiency and effectiveness issues, such as acquisition of computer equipment and management of computer resources.
With the increase in computerization of state government, the Legislative Auditor has devoted resources to reviewing computer related issues, developing specialists and technicians, and providing additional training to staff members.
Information System audits include an annual audit of the state's information processing facility and Statewide Accounting, Budgeting and Human Resource System (SABHRS). The Information System audit staff also audits state departments' data processing functions and participates in planning and reviewing work on various financial-compliance and performance audits.
Contract audits between the Legislative Auditor and private CPA firms help ensure audit coverage as required by law is maintained, and help satisfy needs of some agencies' additional audit requirements. Any qualified accounting firm may submit proposals for auditing selected state agencies. The Legislative Audit Committee awards the contract to the lowest qualified bidder. The contract auditor presents the completed audit report to the Legislative Audit Committee.
Special projects consist of an audit or review project undertaken with a specific but limited scope. Generally these projects are undertaken to obtain information used to analyze a specific state activity that has occurred or is contemplated. Information may be used to determine whether audit work is warranted or feasible. Special projects may involve accounting, compliance, program results, efficiency, defalcations, or other matters.
Any member of the Legislature may request an audit by the Legislative Auditor of activity of state government. Such requests should be presented in writing to the Chair of the Legislative Audit Committee. The 12-member, bipartisan,bicameral audit committee considers all audit requests and approves and sets priorities for audits. Once an audit is approved, and there is sufficient staff and funding available, it is conducted by the Legislative Auditor's staff following Governmental Audit Standards. When completed, all audit reports are issued through the Legislative Audit Committee.
Statutorily Mandated Audits
The Legislative Auditor is responsible for the Single Audit of Montana that is mandated by the federal government. The Legislative Auditor performs other related assignments, including performance audits, Information System audits and financial-compliance audits that are mandated by statute.
Legislative Audit Hotline Program
The Hotline Program, another mandated responsibility for the Legislative Auditor, has generated hundreds of phone calls to its toll-free hotline that have resulted in improved government operations,the punishment of wrongdoers and the collection of thousands of dollars of state funds. Investigations are limited to state departments and agencies -- problems at the federal or local level are not handled by the audit staff. Investigations range from embezzlement to the misuse of state telephones. The audit hotline can provide anonymity and protection to complainants.
The hotline number is 1 (800) 222-4446, and is staffed Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. An answering machine records messages from after-hours callers.
The Mission of the Legislative Audit Division is to provide government leaders and citizens, through a disciplined approach and an independent and objective manner, reliable information to improve accountability, efficiency, effectiveness, and compliance and to promote financial and operational integrity of operations of state agencies, the judicial branch and higher education institutions.
Article V, Section 10(4) of the 1972 Montana Constitution mandates a legislative post-audit function.
Title 5, chapter 13, MCA.The Legislative Audit Act governs the Legislative Audit Division and directs that each agency of state government be audited for the purpose of furnishing the legislature with factual information vital to the discharge of its legislative duties.
The goal of the Legislative Audit Division is to conduct timely and responsive audit and analysis, while considering the effectiveness of risk management, control, and governance processes for recommending purposeful change.
To meet our goal, the Legislative Audit Division must achieve our objectives to determine whether:
- An audited agency's financial operations, in relation to generally accepted accounting principles, are properly conducted, the financial reports are presented fairly, and the agency has complied with applicable laws and regulations;
- An audited activity, in relation to the principles of proper management, is accomplishing its purposes and whether those purposes can be achieved with greater efficiency and economy;
- Controls exist and are operating to provide assurance over the accuracy, reliability, and integrity of the financial and management information processed and reported.
Financial Compliance Audits
Financial-compliance audits encompass: (a) the traditional CPA financial audit, (b) compliance audit, and (c) limited performance/economy/efficiency audit. The primary objectives of financial/compliance audits are to ascertain that:
- Activities are in accordance with the requirements of applicable laws and regulations and are only for the furtherance of authorized programs.
- The agency accounts properly for all financial activity arising from its activities.
- The assets belonging to an agency or in its custody are adequately safeguarded, controlled, and used in an efficient manner.
- Reports and financial information provided by the agency to the Governor, the legislature, and central control agencies disclose fully the nature and scope of the activities conducted, and provide a proper basis for evaluating the agency's operations.
- Make recommendations to improve internal control, compliance, management and/or efficiency and economy of government operations.
- Determine the status of implementation of prior audit recommendations. Each audit's objectives may not include all those described here. Financial-compliance audits also identify and report instances and areas where agency economy and efficiency of operations or programs can be improved. Areas of concern identified in financial-compliance audits may be followed up by performance audit staff in conjunction with financial-compliance audits.
The Legislative Audit Division issues a statewide biennial single audit report as a special purpose financial-compliance audit which complies with the reporting requirements of the Single Audit Act and OMB Circular A-133. The Single Audit Report is based on work performed on agency financial-compliance audits and the audit of Montana's General Purpose Financial Statement.
Performance audits are reviews and analyses of state programs undertaken to determine whether the programs are:
- Achieving the intended results,
- Being conducted efficiently and economically, and
- In compliance with related laws and regulations.
These reviews result in recommendations which, if implemented, should increase the effectiveness or efficiency of the program.
Performance audits are based on a state administered program or activity. Therefore, these audits may cross agency lines.
Information Systems Audits
Information System audits review and analyze state data processing activities to determine whether they are:
- Adequately controlled to assure proper financial and management information is generated,
- Achieving the intended results,
- Being conducted efficiently and effectively, and
- Complying with applicable statutes and regulations.
These reviews result in recommendations which, if implemented, should increase the effectiveness or efficiency of the data processing activity or improve the reliability and security of information generated by the data processing activity. Information System audits may be based on the data processing activities of a single agency or may cross agency lines. Information System audits may be undertaken as separate reviews or in combination with financial-compliance or performance audits.
Welcome to the Legislative Audit Committee's privatization review web page. We hope the links provided on this page will help you understand the requirements of the privatization laws, as well as provide you information on current and past Committee reviews of privatization proposals.
Privatization is use of the private sector in government management and/or delivery of public services. Reasons for privatizing vary, but in general fall into one of four areas: 1) cost savings, 2) administrative expediency, 3) management improvement, and 4) ideology. There are numerous types of privatization including:
- Contracting (contract with private sector to provide service)
- Service Shedding (reduce/stop providing service - private sector can assume)
- Sale of Assets (sell assets to shift function to private sector)
- Franchises (give private firms governmental authority to provide service)
- Vouchers (government coupons used to purchase private sector services)
- Leasing (use of goods or services without ownership risks)
- Grants/Subsidies (reduce costs of private sector providing public services)
- Public-Private Partnership (conduct cooperative projects with private sector)
- Private Donation (rely on private sector to assist in providing public service)
- Volunteerism (volunteers provide public service)
- Deregulation (remove regulations in favor of self or no regulation of service)
Contracting is the most common form of privatization.
The privatization laws were enacted by the 52nd Legislature and became effective July 1, 1991. According to statute, the definition of "Privatize" means an agency contracting with the private sector to provide services that are currently or normally conducted directly by the employees of the state.
Before an agency can privatize a program, they must prepare a privatization plan, which must be released to the public and submitted to the Legislative Audit Committee. The Committee must review the plan, conduct a public hearing on the proposal, and make a recommendation of approval or disapproval to the Governor. There are statutory timeframes for each step of the process.
- Privatization Plan Review
- 2-8-301. Definitions
- 2-8-302. Privatization plan -- hearing -- role of legislative audit committee -- action by governor
- 2-8-303. Privatization plan -- contents
- 2-8-304. Review of privatized programs
The complete rules of conduct of public meetings for proposed privatization plans can be found here.
Current Privatization Reviews
There are currently no privatization plans undergoing review.
Past Privatization Reviews
Billings Assessment and Sanction Center (BASC) Program (2006)
Who to Contact
If you have questions regarding a privatization review, please contact the Legislative Audit Division at (406) 444-3122 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Special Audit Projects
Special projects consist of:
- Projects undertaken with a specific but limited scope. Generally these projects are undertaken to obtain information used to analyze a specific state activity that has occurred or is contemplated. Information may be used to determine whether audit work is warranted or feasible.
Special projects may involve accounting, compliance, program results, efficiency, defalcations, or other matters.
- Internal projects undertaken to assess or improve the operations of the Legislative Audit Division. These projects may be assigned to any staff member and may result in oral or written reports to the legislative auditor or in the preparation of materials to be used by division management.
Legislative requests are projects undertaken as the result of requests by the legislature, its committees, or members. Legislative requests will be undertaken as either financial/compliance audits, performance audit or surveys, Information System audits, or special projects, depending upon the nature and scope of the work. Work done upon legislative requests may result in a formal written report or a letter report.
The Legislative Audit Division (LAD) may perform other services such as agreed upon procedures, proforma financial information, or financial forecasts and projections. If LAD accepts such engagements, our work will conform to applicable professional standards, including Government Auditing Standards.
The Montana Constitution, specifically, Article V, Section 10(4), Constitution of Montana, provides in part:
"The Legislature shall establish a legislative post-audit committee which shall supervise post-auditing duties provided by law."
Legislative Audit Act
The Legislative Audit Act became law as Chapter 249, Session Laws of 1967. The statutory authority and responsibilities relating to the legislative audit function are contained in Title 5, chapter 13, Montana Codes Annotated:
5-13-101. Title and purpose of chapter. (1) This chapter may be cited as "The Legislative Audit Act."
(2) Because the legislature is responsible for authorizing the expenditure of public moneys, designating the sources from which money may be collected, and shaping the administration to perform the work of state government and is held finally accountable for fiscal policy, the legislature should also be responsible for the audit of books, accounts, activities, and records so that it may be assured that its directives have been carried out. It is the intent of this chapter that each agency of state government be audited for the purpose of furnishing the legislature with factual information vital to the discharge of its legislative duties.
5-13-102. Definitions. In this chapter:
(1) "committee" means the legislative audit committee.
(2) "state agency" means all offices, departments, boards, commissions, institutions, universities, colleges, and any other person or any other administrative unit of state government that spends or encumbers public moneys by virtue of an appropriation from the legislature or that handles money on behalf of the state or that holds any trust or agency moneys from any source.
5-13-201. Legislative audit committee. There is a legislative audit committee which is a permanent joint committee of the legislature.
5-13-202. Appointment and term of members -- officers -- vacancies. (1) The legislative audit committee consists of six members of the Senate and six members of the House of Representatives appointed before the end of each regular session in the same manner as standing committees of the respective houses are appointed. Subject to 5-5-234, three of the appointees of each house must be members of the majority political party and three of the appointees of each house must be members of the minority party.
(2) A member of the committee shall serve until the member's term of office as a legislator ends or until a successor is appointed, whichever occurs first.
(3) The committee shall elect one of its members as presiding officer and other officers as it considers necessary.
(4) A vacancy on the committee occurring when the legislature is not in session must be filled by the selection of a member of the legislature by the remaining members of the committee. If there is a vacancy on the committee at the beginning of a legislative session because a member's term of office as a legislator has ended, a member of the same political party must be appointed in the same manner as the original appointment, no later than the 10th legislative day, to serve until a successor is appointed under subsection (1).
5-13-203. Meetings -- compensation. (1) The committee shall meet:
(a) as often as may be necessary during and between legislative sessions to advise and consult with the legislative auditor; and
(b) to review privatization plans and to make findings, conclusions, and recommendations as required under provisions of 2-8-302.
(2) Committee members are entitled to receive compensation and expenses as provided in 5-2-302.
5-13-301. Legislative Audit Division. There is a legislative audit division. The legislative auditor is responsible to manage the division in order to perform the duties imposed by this chapter.
5-13-302. Appointment and qualifications. (1) The committee shall appoint the legislative auditor and set the legislative auditor's salary in accordance with the rules for classification and pay adopted by the legislative council.
(2) The legislative auditor shall hold a degree from an accredited college or university with a major in accounting or an allied field and shall have at least 2 years' experience in the field of governmental accounting and auditing.
5-13-303. Term and removal. The legislative auditor is responsible solely to the legislature. The legislative auditor shall hold office for a term of 2 years beginning with July 1 of each even-numbered year. The committee may remove the legislative auditor for misfeasance, malfeasance, or nonfeasance in office at any time after notice and hearing.
5-13-304. Powers and duties. The legislative auditor shall: (1) conduct a financial and compliance audit of every state agency every 2 years covering the 2-year period since the last audit, unless otherwise required by state law;
(2) conduct a an audit to meet the standards and accomplish the objectives required in 5-13-308 whenever the legislative auditor determines it necessary and shall advise the members of the legislative audit committee;
(3) make a complete written report of each audit. A copy of each report must be furnished to the department of administration, the state agency that was audited, each member of the committee, and the legislative services division;
(4) report immediately in writing to the attorney general and the governor any apparent violation of penal statutes disclosed by the audit of a state agency and furnish the attorney general with all information available relative to the violation;
(5) report immediately in writing to the governor any instances of misfeasance, malfeasance, or nonfeasance by a state officer or employee disclosed by the audit of a state agency;
(6) report immediately to the commissioner of political practices any instances of apparent violations of the state code of ethics provided for in Title 2, chapter 2, part 1;
(7) report immediately to the surety upon the bond of an official or employee when an audit discloses a shortage in the accounts of the official or employee. Failure to notify the surety does not release the surety from any obligation under the bond;
(8) have the authority to audit records of organizations and individuals receiving grants from or on behalf of the state to determine that the grants are administered in accordance with the grant terms and conditions. Whenever a state agency enters into an agreement to grant resources under its control to others, the agency shall obtain the written consent of the grantee to the audit provided for in this subsection.
5-13-305. Employees, consultants, and legal counsel - cure for impairment. (1)The legislative auditor may appoint and define the duties of employees and consultants who are necessary to carry out the provisions of this chapter, within the limitations of legislative appropriations. The legislative auditor shall set the pay for employees in accordance with the rules for classification and pay adopted by the legislative council. The legislative auditor may employ legal counsel to conduct proceedings under this chapter.
(2) The legislative auditor shall inform the legislative council and the legislative audit committee in writing of an administrative policy or rule adopted under 5-11-105 that may impair the independence of the division, along with a statement of the reasons for the opinion and suggested changes to cure the impairment. The legislative council shall review the rule in question and adopt a revision that is generally applicable to the legislative branch and that is designed to cure the impairment. While the impairment exists, the legislative audit committee may adopt a specific exemption to the questioned rule that states the alternative rule to be employed under the exemption.
5-13-306. Legislative auditor to assist legislature during sessions. During sessions of the legislature, the legislative auditor and the audit staff, when requested, shall assist the legislature, its committees, and its members by gathering and analyzing information relating to the fiscal affairs of state government.
5-13-307. Recommendations of legislative auditor - implementation costs. (1) The reports of the legislative auditor may include comments, recommendations, and suggestions, but the legislative auditor does not have the power to enforce them and may not otherwise influence or direct executive or legislative action.
(2) Whenever significant costs are associated with the implementation of audit recommendations, the legislative auditor shall, if practicable, note this fact and the estimated amount of such costs in the appropriate audit report.
5-13-308. Audit standards and objectives. The objectives of financial compliance, performance, and information system audits of state agencies or their programs conducted by the legislative auditor are formulated, defined, and conducted in accordance with industry standards established for auditing to determine whether:
(1) the agency is carrying out only those activities or programs authorized by the legislature and is conducting them efficiently, effectively, and in accordance with legislative intent;
(2) expenditures are made only in furtherance of authorized activities and in accordance with the requirements of applicable laws and regulations;
(3) the agency collects and accounts properly for all revenues and receipts arising from its activities;
(4) the assets, including information technology, of the agency or in its custody are adequately safeguarded and controlled and utilized in an efficient manner;
(5) reports and financial statements by the agency to the governor, the legislature, and central control agencies disclose fully the nature and scope of the activities conducted and provide a proper basis for evaluating the agency's operations.
5-13-309. Information from state agencies. (1) All state agencies shall aid and assist the legislative auditor in the auditing of books, accounts, activities, and records.
(2) The legislative auditor may examine at any time the books, accounts, activities, and records, confidential or otherwise, of a state agency. This section may not be construed as authorizing the publication of information prohibited by law.
(3) The head of each state agency shall immediately notify both the attorney general and the legislative auditor in writing upon the discovery of any theft, actual or suspected, involving state money or property under that agency's control or for which the agency is responsible.
5-13-310. Prosecution -- discipline of professionals. (1) The attorney general shall conduct on behalf of the state all prosecutions for public offenses involving a state agency that are reported to the attorney general by the legislative auditor.
(2) If the attorney general declines the prosecution or fails to commence action on a public offense within a reasonable time, the county attorney of the appropriate county shall conduct on behalf of the state the prosecution.
(3) In an action taken by the attorney general or a county attorney under this section, in which a professional person in the state of Montana is charged or may have engaged in unethical conduct, all records or certified copies of the records, including investigative materials, must be turned over to the appropriate disciplinary authority for the profession immediately upon completion of the action.
5-13-311. Legislative auditor to establish and maintain toll-free number for reporting fraud, waste, and abuse -- procedures. (1) The legislative auditor shall establish and maintain a toll-free telephone number for use by Montana residents for the reporting of fraud, waste, and abuse in state government. The legislative auditor shall review all telephone calls received at the toll-free number and shall maintain a record of each call. The legislative auditor shall:
(a) analyze and verify the information received from each telephone call; or
(b) refer the information for appropriate action to the agency that is or appears to be the subject of the call.
(2) A state agency that receives information referred to it by the legislative auditor pursuant to this section shall take adequate and appropriate action to investigate and remedy any fraud, waste, or abuse discovered as a result of the referral. The agency shall report in writing to the legislative auditor concerning the results of its investigation and those measures taken to correct any fraud, waste, or abuse discovered as a result of the referral.
(3) Information received at the toll-free number is confidential until the time that the legislative auditor or other appropriate agency determines the validity of the information and takes corrective action. After the legislative auditor or other appropriate agency takes action to verify the fraud, waste, or abuse complained of and takes any corrective action, information concerning the subject of the complaint and the remedy, if any, is public information unless precluded by law.
(4) The legislative auditor shall, as directed by the legislative audit committee, periodically report to the committee on:
(a) the use of the toll-free number;
(b) the results of the reviews, verifications, and referrals; and
(c) any corrective actions taken by the appropriate agencies.
(5) Information received at the toll-free number concerning a governmental entity other than state government may be referred by the legislative auditor to an appropriate federal, state, or local government agency.
(6) If the legislative auditor determines that as a result of a review and verification or referral pursuant to this section, a waste of state resources has occurred, the legislative auditor shall report the matter in writing to the legislative fiscal analyst.
(7) The legislative auditor shall advertise the existence and purpose of the toll-free number in an appropriate manner.
5-13-312. Deposit of money recovered. Unless otherwise provided by law, money recovered as a result of an action taken pursuant to 5-13-311 must be deposited in the state general fund.
5-13-313. Audit selection based on risk. (1) In selecting and prioritizing the agencies or programs for audit under 5-13-304, the legislative auditor shall consider the agency's or program's financial, operational, and technological risks associated with meeting its intended purpose, goals, objectives, and legal mandates.
(2) To aid in identifying agencies and programs for audit, the committee shall, before July 1 of each odd-numbered year, request that the governor, the board of regents, and the judiciary furnish the committee with a list of any recommendations for agencies and programs within the governor's, board of regents' or judiciary's respective jurisdiction to be considered for audit during the next biennium pursuant to this chapter. The list may be prioritized and must set forth the reasons for recommending each agency or program to be considered based on the risk criteria in subsection (1).
(3) The legislative auditor shall review the lists, suggestions from legislators and legislative committees, staff recommendations, and any other relevant information and consult with the committee as necessary.
5-13-314. Employment protection. An employee of the state of Montana or an authorized contractor who provides information to the committee, the legislative auditor, or the legislative auditor's authorized designee may not be subject to any penalties, sanctions, retaliation, or restrictions in connection with the employee's or contractor's employment as a result of the disclosure of information unless the employee or contractor disclosing the information has violated state law.
5-13-321. Joint audits. (1) The legislative auditor may participate with audit oversight organizations on joint audits of Montana programs or services. For the purpose of the joint audits, the legislative auditor may cooperate with the a audit oversight organizations, accept and provide information necessary to the success of the joint audits, and enter into contracts for the performance of the joint audits. Audits authorized by this section may examine all or any part of the financing or performance of program, whether operated directly by a state agency or by a contractor with a state agency. Joint audits are subject to the audit standards, objectives, and reporting procedures required by state law and as required in applicable federal laws, regulations, and policies.
(2) Audit costs of the legislative auditor for conducting joint audits authorized by subsection (1) are considered direct costs of the state agency or program subject to the audit. Funds for the payment of the expenses of the legislative auditor must be deposited in the state special revenue fund as provided in 5-13-403. To the maximum extent allowable under federal regulations, the legislative auditor shall charge audit costs of joint audits to federal funds.
(3) Audits conducted pursuant to this section must be approved by the committee as part of the operational plan of the legislative auditor.
5-13-401. Definitions. As used in this part, the following definitions apply:
(1) "Agency" means each state office, department, division, board, commission, council, committee, institution, university system unit, or other entity or instrumentality of the executive branch, office of the judicial branch, or office of the legislative branch of state government.
(2) "Audit services" means financial compliance post audits as required by this chapter.
(3) "University system unit" means the board of regents or its units.
5-13-402. Audit costs. (1) Prior to July 1 of each even-numbered year, the legislative auditor shall advise each agency and the budget director of the estimated audit costs for the following biennium. Each agency shall include the estimated audit costs in its proposed budget submitted to the budget director pursuant to 17-7-112. The budget director shall notify the legislative auditor if the executive budget recommendation to the legislature for audit costs differs from that proposed by the legislative auditor.
(2) Not later than 60 days after adjournment of each legislature, the budget director shall provide to the legislative auditor a schedule reflecting, by fund, amounts appropriated to each agency for audit costs.
(3) The legislative auditor shall bill agencies for audit services that the legislative auditor considers necessary. The legislative auditor may not bill an agency for audit services in excess of amounts appropriated for audit services. Additional audit related services may be provided by the legislative auditor at a cost agreed to by an agency and billed to the agency.
5-13-403. Audit account - appropriation and expenditures. All money for audits transferred to the legislative auditor as provided in 5-13-402 must be deposited in the state special revenue fund in the state treasury to the credit of the office of the legislative auditor. The money deposited that is in excess of general and pay plan appropriations is statutorily appropriated, as provided in 17-7-502, and may be expended by the legislative auditor to pay expenses incurred in auditing state agencies pursuant to an operational plan approved by the legislative audit committee.
5-13-411. Legislative auditor to approve contracts for audit services. No contract for an audit of a state agency may be entered into without the approval of the legislative auditor.
The Sunset Law, when originally enacted in 1977, scheduled specific boards and agencies for periodic (every six years) sunset reviews (sections 2-8-101 through 2-8-122, MCA). Chapter 321, Laws of 1983, eliminated the six-year reaudit feature and deleted those agencies then scheduled for reaudit under sunset. Under the statutory changes, each session of the legislature may designate agencies or programs it believes warrant sunset review.
The Legislative Audit Committee, based upon recommendations solicited from the legislature and from the governor, may recommend programs or agencies for sunset review to the legislature in the form of a bill which would be subject to legislative hearings The agencies approved by the legislature would be subject to sunset review prior to the next legislative session. Any state program could be subject to the sunset process, and the method of designating programs for sunset audits would match audit resources to programs currently of legislative interest or concern.
Privatization Plan Review
2-8-301. Definitions. As used in this part, the following definitions apply:
(1) "Agency" means an office, position, commission, committee, board, department, council, division, bureau, section, or any other entity or instrumentality of the executive, legislative, or judicial branch of state government.
(2) "Private sector" means any entity or individual not principally a part of or associated with a governmental unit that is associated with or involved in commercial activity.
(3) (a) "Privatize" means an agency contracting with the private sector to provide services that are currently or normally conducted directly by the employees of the agency.
(b) The term does not include contracting with the private sector to provide services on a temporary or emergency basis.
(4) "Program" means a legislatively or administratively created function, project, or duty of an agency.
2-8-302. Privatization plan -- hearing -- role of legislative audit committee -- action by governor. (1) Before an agency may privatize a program it shall prepare a privatization plan as provided in 2-8-303.
(2) The privatization plan must be released to the public and to all unions that represent state employees and must be submitted to the legislative audit committee at least 180 days prior to the proposed implementation date.
(3) At least 90 days prior to the proposed implementation date, the legislative audit committee shall conduct a public hearing on the proposed privatization plan at which public comments and testimony must be received.
(4) At least 45 days prior to the proposed implementation date, the legislative audit committee shall release to the public a summary of the results of the hearing and the findings and conclusions of the legislative audit committee.
(5) (a) At least 30 days prior to the proposed implementation date, the legislative audit committee shall vote to recommend approval or disapproval of the privatization plan to the governor and transmit the recommendation in writing to the governor.
(b) The recommendation of the legislative audit committee is advisory only.
(6) At least 15 days prior to the proposed implementation date, the governor shall approve or disapprove the privatization plan, stating in writing the reasons for approval or disapproval.
2-8-303. Privatization plan -- contents. (1) An agency proposing to privatize a program shall prepare a privatization plan that includes the following:
(a) a description of the program to be privatized, including references to the legal authority under which the program was created;
(b) detailed budget information that includes a list of expenditures for the 2 most recent fiscal years and the sources of revenue for the program;
(c) a list of all personnel currently employed in the program and the estimated effect of the proposed privatization on the employment status of each employee afftected;
(d) a listing of the assets of the program and their proposed disposition if the plan is implemented;
(e) an estimate of the cost savings or any additional costs resulting from privatizing the program, compared to the costs of the existing, nonprivatized program. Additional costs must include the estimated cost to the state of inspection, supervision, and monitoring of the proposed privatization and the costs incurred in the discontinuation of such a contract.
(f) the estimated current and future economic impacts of the implementation of the plan on other state programs, including public assistance programs, unemployment insurance programs, retirement programs, and agency personal services budgets used to pay out accrued vacation and sick leave benefits;
(g) the estimated increases or decreases in costs and quality of goods or services to the public if the plan is implemented;
(h) the estimated changes in individual wages and benefits resulting from the proposed privatization;
(i) the ways in which the proposed privatization will deliver the same or better services at a lowercost; and
(j) a narrative explanation and justification for the proposed privatization.
(2) To implement the privatization plan, an agency may transfer funds between budget categories.
2-8-304. Review of privatized programs. (1) If during audits of state agencies, the legislative auditor identifies programs being conducted by an agency under contract that may be administered more cost effectively directly by the agency or identifies services performed by an agency that may be performed more cost effectively by the private sector, the legislative auditor shall submit this information to the legislative audit committee.
(2) Members of the public, elected bargaining agents or employee representatives, elected officials, legislators, and agency directors may submit to the legislative audit committee a request to review programs being conducted under contract by an agency that may be administered more cost effectively directly by the agency.
(3) The office of budget and program planning shall submit to the legislative audit committee, by July 1 of each odd-numbered year:
(a) a list of all programs accounted for in an enterprise fund or an internal service fund; and
(b) a request for privatization review under subsection (1) of at least two of the programs identified in subsection (3)(a), including any available information and criteria required under 2-8-303.
(4) The legislative audit committee shall review the information and requests provided under subsections (1) and (2) and may direct the legislative auditor to conduct a review of any contracted program or program administered directly by the agency, or both. The review must include a report to the legislative audit committee that includes the information required in a privatization plan under 2-8-303.
(5) The report required by subsection (4) must be provided to the legislative audit committee and released to the public. Not less than 30 days after the release of the report, the legislative audit committee shall conduct a public hearing on the report at which public comments and testimony must be received. Upon completion of the hearing on the report, the legislative audit committee may make recommendations that it believes appropriate concerning the program.
Audits conducted by the Legislative Audit Division will conform with the standards established by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) as applicable. In addition to these standards, all audits of entities receiving Federal Financial Assistance will be conducted in accordance with the standards established in the Single Audit Act Amendments of 1996 and in OMB Circular A-133, Audits of States and Local Governments, and Nonprofit Organizations unless other federal standards are permitted. The AICPA standards are expressed in the Statements on Auditing Standards, AICPA Professional Standards, and various Industry Audit Guides issued by the AICPA. The GAO standards are reflected in the Government Auditing Standards, more commonly known as the Yellowbook.
In all matters relating to the audit work, the audit organization and the individual auditors, whether government or public, should be free from personal and external impairments to independence, should be organizationally independent, and should maintain an independent attitude and appearance.
The Montana Legislative Audit Committee is established by Montana's constitution. The Montana Legislative Auditor is responsible solely to the Montana Legislature through the Legislative Audit Committee.
Montana Law provides: All state agencies shall aid and assist the Legislative Auditor in the auditing of books, accounts, and records. The Legislative Auditor may examine at any time the books, accounts, and records, confidential or otherwise, of a state agency.
The Legislative Auditor has the authority to audit records of organizations and individuals receiving grants from or on behalf of the state to determine that the grants are administered in accordance with the grant terms and conditions. Whenever a state agency enters into an agreement to grant resources under its control to others, the agency shall obtain the written consent of the grantee to the audit provided for in this subsection.
The Legislative Auditor shall inform the Legislative Council and the Legislative Audit Committee in writing of an administrative policy or rule that may impair the independence of the division, along with a statement of the reasons for the opinion and suggested changes to cure the impairment. The Legislative Council shall review the rule in question and adopt a revision that is generally applicable to the Legislative Branch and that is designed to cure the impairment. While the impairment exists, the Legislative Audit Committee may adopt a specific exemption to the questioned rule that states the alternative rule to be employed under the exemption.
A team of experts from state audit organizations from other states review the work of Montana's Legislative Audit Division every three years. The team reported their findings under the auspice of the National State Auditors Association.