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Sunday, April 09, 2006

Otto's Press Release

A while back the Drama Queen posted a response to a Rebecca Otto press release.

In the release, Otto claims she "was going over education revenue when I noticed the error." Right, Becky.

Otto's attempts to connect Anderson to this error is downright silly and potentially dishonest.

The public document Otto found on the website is NOT the information sent to the Legislative Auditor or State Auditor. In fact, the MN Dept of Education is well known for its accuracy when the budget forecasts are released in November and December.

Otto even questioned the size of the mistake in her own press release by saying "I don't think people need to be alarmed."

Rather than informing the Department of Education about this error, Otto sent out a press release attacking Anderson. Only through Otto's attacks, did the Department of Education become aware of the mistake.

It certainly benefited Otto's cause to attack Anderson and the Department of Education, rather than reporting the problem directly.

Otto was so busy planning her attack on Anderson, she didn't stop to think if Anderson's office was even provided with the numbers.

Brodkorb didn't post the press release or link to it. MN Publius later posted about Rebecca Otto saving the state tons of money. The original post didn't include the full text of the press release. I requested that they post the press release - and they did.

WHO'S WATCHING THE WATCHDOG? STATE AUDITOR CANDIDATE REBECCA OTTO DISCOVERS $12 MILLION ERROR IN LATEST MN DEPT OF EDUCATION REVENUE REPORT SAINT PAUL - A Minnesota Department of Education report that has been on Dept of Education servers since September 8 of 2005 contains a $12 million error, says State Auditor candidate Rebecca Otto (D-May Township). "$11,875,193.00, to be exact," she says. The report is available and it is the latest published statement of school district revenues throughout the state of Minnesota. "I was going over education revenue when I noticed the error," said Otto. "$12 million is a significant amount of money." The State Auditor serves to ensure financial integrity, accountability, and cost-effectiveness of Minnesota's local governmental entities, including school districts. Under State Auditor Patricia Anderson, the office has been working more closely with the MN Department of Education to report school district finances. Otto said she was "surprised" the error hadn’t been discovered by either the Department of Education or the State Auditor's office before now. "It's been posted on the state's servers for seven months," she said. The report is a classification of revenue data for all Minnesota public schools. It contains a mathematical error in each of 22 revenue categories that excludes the revenue from two school districts across the board. "When you add all the mistakes up it totals just short of $12 million in total school revenue," said Otto. Otto, a former State Representative, said that without analyzing the numbers being used in the State Auditor's office and the MN Department of Finance, she has "no idea" whether the error has been incorporated into other reports across state government. "If I was the State Auditor I'd be making a few phone calls," she said. Even if the error has been carried across to other state agencies that prepare financial reports and projections for the Governor and the State Legislature, Otto says it's not likely to have a significant impact. "I don't think people need to be alarmed," she said. "$12 million is not enough to skew state-wide figures very substantially, but on the other hand, we should be able to count on the integrity of the numbers that the state is reporting. That's why we have a State Auditor." The question now, says Otto, is "who's watching the watchdog?"

So this is both sides on this. What do you think?