Minnesota's Legislative Auditor on Friday delivered a harsh report on the state's four minority councils, finding little sign they have been effective.
"We identified six overarching problems: isolation from state policy making, lack of clear statutory purposes, inadequate identification of specific objectives and outcome measures, little substantive collaboration among the councils, untimely appointments and lack of attendance at council meetings, and poor communication with constituent organizations," Jim Nobles, the legislative auditor said in the report.
The councils for Asian-Pacific Minnesotans, Black Minnesotans, Chicano/Latino Affairs and Indian Affairs were allocated about $3 million last year and are expected to spend more in the next two years.
Although the councils have been around for decades -- the Council on Indian Affairs was created in 1963 -- the audit found that they've lacked clear goals or power. Members of some of the councils, the audit found, rarely attend meetings and others have not been true minority liaisons to state government.
The legislative auditor suggested the councils could be closed or absorbed into existing state agencies.
In response, some of the councils said they agreed with some of the findings and rejected others. The council for Asian-Pacific Minnesotans acknowledged the need for some improvement, for instance, but the Council on Black Minnesotans said that the report, "traps the reader in a litany of revisionist history."
Read both the report and the councils' responses below: